Partizan Belgrade picked up its first win of the Euroleague season on Thursday by outlasting Entente Orleanaise 78-71 at Pionir Arena. Aleks Maric scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds – including an offensive rebound and a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left that wrapped up the win. Partizan improved to 1-2 in Group B and will look for another win when it visits Lietuvis Rytas next week. Orleans is now the lone winless team in the group at 0-3 and will seek its maiden win when it hosts Unicaja next week. Partizan led by just 2 entering the fourth quarter, but Bo McCalebb accounted for all the points – scoring 5 and assisting on 2 others – in a 7-0 run over the first two minutes of that fourth quarter and Orleans never fully recovered. The quests got back within 74-71 late only to see McCalebb and Maric seal the win. McCalebb finished with 15 points and Dusan Kecman scored 14 for the winners. Justin Doellman led Orleans with 16 points and 8 rebounds, Ludo Vaty had 14 and 7 and Cedrick Banks tallied 11 in defeat.
An inside basket by Vaty got Orleans on the board first, but Jan Vesely copied his post play and did him a foul shot better for Partizan's first lead. Dueling dunks by Vaty and Maric continued the scoring inside until Doellman aced his first chance at a triple put the guests up 5-7. His rebound and fastbreak pass to Austin Nichols added to the lead, then Doellman was on the receiving end of a steal and fastbreak layup to force a Partizan timeout at 5-11. The hosts responded with a triple by Kecman, who didn't wait long to strike from the arc again to pull the hosts within 11-13. This time, Orleans had an answer from deep in Banks, but Maric was ready with another dunk at 13-16. Soon, Strahinja Milosevic was making the game-tying layup for Partizan, and despite put back by Doellman, Branislav Dekic drilled a triple from the top for a new Partizan lead, 19-18. Laurent Sciarra and Nichols sent Orleans back in front from the foul line, before Aleksandar Rasic used a single shot from the arc to forge a 22-22 tie after 10 minutes.
A sharp-eyed Kecman opened the second quarter from downtown for another Partizan, igniting the crowd, but Orleans newcomer Marko Milic took 2 points back with a jumper. Maric and Stefan Sinovec kept working inside for Partizan, whose defense held steady as Vesely dunked and Sinovec made it a 9-0 run to a double-digit lead, 34-24. Banks revived Orleans with a corner triple and Vaty got the guests a little closer, 36-29. After some free throws, Doellman would shoot the guests within 39-33, but Lawrence Roberts fed big Slavko Vranes for an easy dunk then as Partizan steadied itself. Not so the home team's bench, as free throws by Vaty at 43-37 were followed by a technical foul in the half's last minute on Partizan head coach Dusko Vujosevic, letting Nichols hit free throws, making it 43-40. McCalebb cheered the fans, however, as he stole and hit a tough layup that left a 45-40 halftime score.
Ryvon Covile put a quiet first half behind him and started the third quarter with a pair of baskets to get Orleans within 1. Maric answered back for Partizan, but Banks stepped up with a basket and triple to give Orleans its first lead since the first quarter. Maric put the hosts back on top only for Doellman to make it 50-51. The momentum stayed with the guests as Anthony Dobbins dished to Vaty for a two-handed slam. After a Partizan timeout, Vaty was in the right place at the right time to pick up a loose ball and throw in a hook shot. Kecman revived the hosts with a three-pointer from the corner and Orleans suffered a setback when Vaty was called for his third foul. Maric tied the score at 55-55 from the line. Sciarra put Olreans back ahead with a pair of free throws, but McCalebb darted through the Orleans defense for a basket and Dekic drilled a crucial three to put Partizan on top. McCalebb sank 2 free throws, however Adrien Moerman beat the buzzer from downtown to make it 62-60 heading into the deciding quarter.
McCalebb drove into Milic, drew a foul and hit 2 more free throws to keep Partizan in control as the fourth quarter got underway. He took a pass from Vranes and converted a basket-plus-foul on the next possession to stretch the lead to 7. The momentum was completely with the hosts by this point and a Vranes slam brought the crowd to its feet. Following an Orleans timeout, Aldo Curti banked in a triple that revived the visitors’ hopes. Covile threw in a hook shot to make it 69-65. Lawrence Roberts corrected his own miss, but Curti assisted Covile to keep Orleans within 4. Maric scored an important basket inside, but after both teams came up short at the free-throw line, Nichols drilled 2 free throws to make it 74-71. McCalebb rescued Partizan with another layup. Orleans same good fortune turn bad when Aleksandar Rasic missed twice from the line, but Maric grabbed the offensive rebounds, drew a foul and made 2 free throws with 23 seconds left. Doellman missed a three and Partizan was able to run out the clock for its first win.
Thursday, November 5, 2009