| Crvena Zvezda gets maiden victory by stopping Laboral in Vitoria
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade picked up its first Turkish Airlines Euroleague victory on a tough away court by taking down Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 63-73 on Thursday at Buesa Arena. The win improved Zvezda’s record to 1-3 in Group D, while Laboral dropped to 2-2 and a share of the third place in the standings. After Zvezda opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter, Laboral rallied in the second behind an excellent defense that allowed only 6 points by Boban Marjanovic, while shutting out the rest of the visiting team. A 13-0 run gave Laboral Kutxa 32-31 halftime lead, but Zvezda recovered after the break, with DeMarcus Nelson and Blake Schilb leading the way, and took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter. The visitors pulled away in the final three minutes to celebrate early. Nelson finished with 22 points and 7 rebounds, Schilb scored 18, Charles Jenkins 10 and Luka Mitrovic contributed with 8 points plus 7 rebounds. For the depleted hosts who were without Lamont Hamilton and Fabien Causeur, Milko Bjelica was the highest scorer with 14 points and David Jelinek added 10.
First quarter: Nelson and Schilb carry Zvezda to early lead
Zvezda youngster Mitrovic started the scoring with a tip-in, and Rasko Katic followed it up with a tip-in of his own for 0-4. Walter Hodge opened the hosts' account with a pair of free throws, but Schilb nailed a triple to make it 2-9. Zvezda did not allow a single field goal for more than four minutes, before Jelinek sank a long jumper, 6-11. Jelinek also drove for a layup, but Nelson scored couple of layups, one before and one after Jelinek's, to keep the visitors' lead intact. Zvezda's man-to-man defense troubled the hosts, forcing turnovers and tough shots. After Mitrovic and Nocioni traded easy buckets from close range, a mid-range jumper and an easy layup from Schilb opened a 10-21 margin. Laboral answered with a triple from Devon van Oostrom, but after Boban Marjanovic and Tibor Pleiss traded layups, Jenkins finished the quarter with driving layup that made it 15-25.
Second quarter: Laboral goes in front with a 13-0 run
Marjanovic and Pleiss traded baskets, and Marjanovic had two consecutive dunks for a 19-31 advantage. But Laboral became more aggressive on defense, and for any Zvezda player not named Marjanovic, shots stopped falling. Meanwhile, Van Oostrum hit a jumper to spark a Laboral. After Milko Bjelica added a layup to the tally, the run continued as hosts' defense produced fastbreak baskets from Nocioni and Bjelica. A triple from Kelati tied it, and the same player used an unsportsmanlike foul from Schilb to put his team in front for the first time in the game, 32-31 at halftime.
Third quarter: Zvezda refuses to go away
Bjelica opened the second half with a dunk before Katic made a hook-shot that snapped Zvezda's scoring drought. Fernando San Emeterio opened his account with a driving layup, and after Schilb scrambled for a layup, San Emeterio hit a short jumper, 38-35. Jelinek added a two-handed slam to the tally, but Nelson fought for a put-back and then hit a triple on the ensuing possession, as Zvezda regained the lead, 40-42. Bjelica countered with 6 points – a pair of layups and a baseline jumper against the visitors' zone defense, but Schilb scored a layup-plus-foul on the other end to tie tings at 46-46 with three minutes left in the quarter. Jelinek answered with a long jumper, but free throws from Schilb and Jaka Blazic put Crvena Zvezda back in front, and in the final minute of the quarter, Jenkins sank a long jumper and drove for a tough layup and 51-54 edge after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Zvezda pulls away for historic win
Leo Mainolid nailed a jumper with one foot on the three-point line, and Rimantas Kaukenas made a baseline jumper before Nelson hit a three-pointer against Laboral’s zone defense. After San Emeterio and Schilb traded baskets from close range, Mitrovic made a tip-in midway through the fourth quarter for 58-61. After the hosts’ timeout, Nocioni scored a layup, but Schilb hit a turnaround jumper and Nelson made a fastbreak layup, 60-65 with three minutes to go. Zvezda forced two more turnovers on the next two Laboral’s trips down the floor, and Jenkins drove for a layup, capping a 2-8 run and giving Zvezda a 7-point lead with little over one minute to go. Bjelica scored a put-back for the hosts, but Jenkins and Nelson each sank a pair of free throws, 62-71, sealing the deal. Nelson closed out the scoring with a put back, as the visitors celebrated their first ever Euroleague victory.
Thursday, November 7, 2013