They may have played behind closed doors without any fans, but that didn't stop Zadar and guest Krka Novo Mesto from putting on a show Wednesday. When the dust of their mutual attempt to win had settled, in overtime, Krka had stolen a 97-98 Group C victory, in nearly an identical manner as Zadar had done in Novo Mesto when these teams first met in their Euroleague opener. Three seconds were left on the overtime clock when young sensation Jaka Lakovic raised up and hit the winning two-pointer. The sanction for dangerous fan behavior that emptied Jazine Sports Hall on Wednesday did not empty a matchup between two lower-placed Group C teams of drama. It was 46-46 at halftime, 72-73 after three quarters and 87-87 after Sime Spralja saved Zadar with the final basket in regulation time. In OT, Zadar led 94-89 before Krka rallied for the win. Lakovic and Bennett Davison finished with 20 points each to lead the winners, with Mate Skelin adding 17 and Marko Samanjic 13. Davor Marcelic paced Zadar with 21, Rumeal Robinson put up 19 and Toni Dijan 17. Krka raised its record to 3-5 and retained a continuing hope to grab a top-four position in the group. Zadar fell to 2-6.
Krka started the game better, shooting ahead 2-6 until Jaka Lakovic received a technical foul, for arguing, in the third minute. Zadar was able to catch up and go ahead 7-6 and with the help of Tomislav Ruzic inside, Rumeal Robinson and Davor Marcelic outside, push along for a few minutes to a 15-12 advantage. But Lakovic with 2 three-pointers erased the deficit and put his team ahead 17-20. For Zadar, Ivan Grgat woke up inside with 4 points, but Lakovic continued sniping for Krka with his with his third three-pointer in as many tries, giving Krka its biggest lead at 21-27 with a minute to go. Rumeal Robinson tried to cut into that with his own tnree-pointer, but Skelin and Bennett Davidson finished off the quarter with a basket each to put Krka way ahead, 24-31.
Krka looked in good shape with a run of four points by Samo Grum early in the second quarter. But Grgat matched him and drew Skelin's third foul, sending the Krka center to the bench. Before long, Robinson was nailing another three-pointer to tie the game 35-35. Skelin's replacement, Marko Samanjic, put Krka ahead again at 37-38, but the battle was now fully engages. To the end of the half, the game went basket after basket until the two teams were tied in their empty gym, 46-46.
In the first minutes of the third quarter, the teams traded leads. Zadar was boosted by Marcelic and Dijan, krka by Samanic and Dragisa Drobnjak. In 25th minute, Krka tried to break away at 55-60 after a three by Vladimir Anzulovic, but Zadar returned with a 6-0 run for a 61-60 lead. In 27th minute of the game, however, Zadar faced a crisis as Robinson and Tomislav Ruzic lefte the game with five personal fouls each, replaced by Jakov Vladovic and Ivan Grgat. Surprisingly Marcelic and two young players, Dijan and Vladovic, kept Zadar in the game, 73-72, at the end of the quarter.
Alexander Capin opened the final quarter with a three for Krka, but Vladovic answered back and Marcelic brought the Zadar lead to 78-75. A new three pointer by Lakovic tied it but a basket by Vladovic gave Zadar a new lead 80-78 in the 34th minute. The next two minutes were scoreless, until Samanic tied the score and Krka extended to a 5-0 run that was good for an 80-83 edge. Ime Odouk got two of those points back for Zadar then hit the tying foul shot at 83-83. Lakovic and Davidson put Krka up 83-86, but Dijan got a basket back, and when Lakovic missed 1 of 2 free throws it left an opening and Sprlaja took it, sending the game to overtime.
Marcelic and Dijan again put Zadar ahead, 90-87, a gap that was extended to five, 94-89, on Dijan's next basket. Skelin, who had just missed two free throws, now made two and a Davison fastbreak suddenly dropped the deficit to 94-93. Boris Gnjidic, quieter than usual until now, nailed a three-pointer to put Krka up 94-96. Two Oduok free throws tied it, and another by Spralja put Zadar ahead 97-96. It was up to Lakovic, who didn't shy from the spotlight, making his last shot and avenging Krka's loss way back on opening day.
Wednesday, December 12, 2001