Real Madrid snatched another Group A victory from the jaws of defeat on Thursday by rallying to beat Partizan Pivara MB 87-92 in overtime at Pionir Arena in Belgrade. Mickael Gelabele scored 7 points in overtime, while veteran Alberto Herreros added 5 after having sent the game to the extra period with a late three-pointer in the fourth quarter. Madrid's victory was worth a 2-1 record in Group A and left the young Partizan team holding a 0-3 start with two home losses already. Louis Bullock paced Madrid's scorers with 26 points, including 4-for-9 three-point shooting. Herrreros and Gelabale posted 16 points each, the latter with 7 rebounds added Dejan Milojevic led Partizan with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Blake Stepp and Milan Gurovic scored 13 points each.
Gurovic got Partizan started with free throws after Madrid's zone defense had forced 3 quick turnovers. Antonio Bueno finally scored for the visitors after 3 minutes, but Gurovic and Vule Avdalovic followed with three-pointers for an 8-2 Partizan lead. Gelabale and Antonios Fotsis strengthened Madrid's defense after Felipe Reyes left with 3 quick fouls. His replacement, Par Burke, cut the difference to 10-9 with a free throw, but 7 points inside by Milojevic and Slobodan Bozovic had Partizan sitting well, up 21-12 after 10 minutes.
Milojevic blocked Burke's shot to start the second quarter. Bueno came on to battle Milojevic in the paint now, but Madrid was missing enough shots that Partizan escaped for a 23-15 advantage. Gurovic scored for Partizan's first double-digit lead, at 27-17. He and Milojevic continued to make things happen and Madrid struggled until Axel Hervelle came off the bench late with 4 points and Herreros who traded baskets with Uros Tripkovic. In the final minutes, each team scored from the line and Partizan won the first half 37-28.
Bueno and Reyes opened the second half with easy baskets, Mustapha Sonko dunked on a fastbreak, and Bullock added 3 points as Madrid quicky blasted to within 39-37. Avdalovic answered from downtown for Partizan but Reyes and Bueno kept scoring inside and Herreros from behind the arc as the score remained tight, 46-44. Partizan teen Kosta Perovic answered from both distances, short and long, but Bullock landed a long shot to make it 50-47 and quiet 7,000 home fans. Avdalovic brought them bakc to their feet with a showy fastbreak basket, but Elmer Bennet score one more behind the arc for Madrid as the third quarter ended 56-52.
Hervelle and Bullock showed the visitors' intentions with back-to-back triples that forged a 58-58 tie early in the final quarter. After 2 tense minutes without points, Reyes finally put Madrid ahead, 58-60, from the foul line. Madrid used excellent defense to make a 2-10 run, but Perovic got Partizan back in it and Milojevic tied it again, 62-62 as Avdalovic fouled out with 4 minutes left. That's when Tripkovic raised the roof with a triple to give Partizan a new lead, 65-64, but Sonko answered with the same right before Milojevic also committed his fifth foul. Stepp raised the drama level with a layup to which Perovic added a free throw for a 72-68 Partizan lead with less than a minute remaining. But there was still plenty time for Bullock to fire in a shot from downtown, and after Stepp made 2 free throws, for Herreros to mail in his own long-distance shot with 15 ticks on the clock that left a 74-74 tie after 40 minutes.
Partizan's leaders had fouled out and its youngsters filled the floor. But it was Gelabale who took charge in overtime with 4 quick points that put Madrid up 74-78. Stepp and Bullock traded triples and Stepp added one more, but Gelabale dunked and got 2 more points at the line. Herreros got 4 free throws and made them all, so when Gurovic missed a three-pointer and Gelabale dunked again, Madrid led 85-90 on its way to the final victory.
Thursday, November 18, 2004