KK Zadar rallied from a double-digit halftime deficit to defeat Strasbourg 74-83 on the road in France and consolidate its second-place finish in Group I. Already-qualified Zadar (6-4) would have finished second regardless, but the extra win could yet prove rewarding in terms of home-court advantage in the upcoming ULEB Cup elimination rounds. Strasbourg finished 3-7 and in sixth place in the group. Zadar turned around 41-31 scoreboard at halftime with a game-changing 2-18 blast right after the break before outshooting Strasbourg all the way to the finish. Julius Johnson pumped in 3 of his 4 three-pointers early in the final quarter on his way to 26 points for the winners. Corey Brewer added 15, Pankracije Barak 14 and Andrej Stimac 13 for Zadar. Strasbourg got 18 points from Eddie Shannon, 13 from Derrick Obasohan, 12 and 10 rebounds from Aaron Pettway and 10 points from John McCord.
After a slow start, Strasbourg rolled to an early 12-7 advantage as McCord, Pettway and Obasohan shared all the hosts' points. Zadar pulled within 12-10 on a triple by Stimac, but Pettway scored 4 free throws among the next 6 points as Strasbourg stayed in front, 20-15, after 10 minutes. Mendy Elson's pair of baskets to start the next quarter put the hosts ahead further before Afik Nissim's triple supplied a high lead of 27-18. Shamell Stallworth's triple kept Zadar from falling further behind, but Strasbourg took double-digit leads finally on Nissim's jumper and led by a high of 13 before settling for a 41-31 halftime advantage. Zadar stormed out of the locker room and scored on unanswered baskets by Todor Gecevski, Stimac and Johnson that set the tone for the rest of the third quarter. By the time Gecevski and Stimac had scored again, and were joined by Brewer, the guests had flipped the scoreboard and were leading 43-44. They weren't finished, either, as Stallworth struck from downtown again to finish a 2-18 game-changing blast with a 43-49 scoreboard on the way to a 49-53 lead after 30 minutes. With the gloves off now, both teams went wild scoring in the final quarter. Johnson's 3 three-pointers kept Zadar ahead 57-62, then he got long-range help from Barak and Brewer at 71-76. Strasbourg was answering with two pointers most of the way, however, and when Barak hit the last bomb of the game, Zadar had a road victory that might yet count for a homecourt edge in an upcoming elimination round.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008