Real Madrid stayed unbeaten after three games in Group C by defeating Partizan 63-75 in front of a sellout crowd in Belgrade on Thursday. Real Madrid shares the top spot in Group C with Panathinaikos, half of the competition's four undefeated teams after three weeks. Partizan dropped to 0-3 and will carry on looking for a win. Louis Bullock led the winners with 20 points, including all points in a 0-9 run which sealed the outcome in the final period. Axel Hervelle and Mous Sonko each added 12 points, Mickael Gelabale had 11 while Felipe Reyes grabbed 11 rebounds for Real Madrid. Kosta Perovic led Partizan with 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting, Dejan Milojevic added 11 and Uros Tripkovic 10 for the hosts, which used a 8-0 run to tie the game, 25-25, early in the second quarter. Real Madrid fired back with a 0-7 run late in this period to get a 31-40 margin. Partizan cut its deficit to 52-57 after 30 minutes and then again to 54-58 early in the fourth quarter, but Bullock simply took over to lead his team to a well-deserved win.
Bullock needed just 15 seconds to open fire from downtown and Hervelle added a powerful put-back basket for a 0-5 Madrid lead. Tripkovic fired the crowd with a three from the top of the key to which Milojevic followed with a left-handed layup to tie the game at 5-5. Hervelle stroke from three-point range, as Partizan kept on looking for Milojevic in the middle. He made free throws and Brown added a short jumper for the hosts' first lead at 9-8. Tomas and Perovic exchanged baskets before Bullock nailed a three off the dribble, but Tripkovic tied the game, 13-13, with a six-meter jumper. Bullock stayed as the guests' go-to guy, while Mous Sonko fired in a jumper for a 14-17 score. Perovic took over with a wild dunk, forcing Venson Hamilton to step on court. Tomas stepped up with a corner three and Bullock made free throws in a 0-6 Madrid run. Partizan improved with a zone defense, but Tomas scored inside for a 18-25 Madrid lead after 10 minutes.
Partizan were back to man-to-man defense at the start of the second quarter. Meanwhile, Perovic took over with consecutive put-back baskets, while Nikola Loncar nailed one from downtown to tie the game at 25-25, after a 0-8 run. It didn't last long, as Hervelle came to the rescue for Madrid with his second three-pointer and Reyes worked well in the paint for a basket-plus-foul, while a fast break layup by Mickael Gelabale forced a Partizan timeout at 25-33. The hosts did not find answers in offense but at least their defense worked well for a while. Partizan went scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Predrag Suput banked in a turnaround jumper. Real Madrid had switched to zone defense but called timeout to fix its offense. Hamilton stepped up with a high-flying tip-in which Perovic matched with a reverse layup, igniting a 0-7 run in which Tomas fired in a corner three and Reyes made a jumper, enough for Madrid to get a 31-40 margin at halftime.
Gelabale stayed active after the break with a left-handed put-back layup while Hamilton scored inside and Hervelle made free throws to make it a 15-point game, 31-46. Partizan tried to react off a timeout, but Hamilton carried on intimidated everyone near the guests' basket which 3 blocks in as many minutes. Even with that, Nikola Pekovic followed Milojevic's layup with a three-point play to cut Partizan's deficit to 36-46. Gelabale woke Real Madrid up with a two-handed reverse dunk, but Loncar followed a layup with free throws to bring the hosts even closer, 40-48, as Madrid called timeout. Gelabale silenced the crowd with a big three but Suput copied it in the other end. Sonko and Brown exchanged layups, too, for a 45-53 Madrid lead. Tripkovic nailed a three while Brown and Suput added free throws to give all Partizan fans hope, 52-57, after 30 minutes.
Hamilton got Madrid going with a big block on Luka Bogdanovic setting a defensive start in the fourth period, as both teams went scoreless for 2 minutes until Bullock made a free throw. Tripkovic tried to change things with a driving layup but Bullock simply took over with consecutive triples which forced a Partizan timeout at 54-64. Nothing changed, as Bullock - who else? - nailed another jumper while Partizan could not find the way to the basket. Milojevic stepped up with a put-back layup and Perovic scored inside, but it wasn't enough, as Sonko and Hervelle combined for all points in a 1-6 run which sealed the outcome, 61-75, with 2 minutes to go. Real Madrid left the court as the Group C co-leader, while Partizan will have to carry on working to register its first win.
Thursday, November 17, 2005