Buducnost of Podgorica hit another big upset in Group B on Wednesday at home when it beat Montepaschi Siena by 91-75. Its second unexpected win gave Buducnost a 2-5 record at the end of the first leg of the regular season while Siena falls to 3-4. Up to five players of Buducnost scored in double digits: John Brown led them all with 18 points, Ivan Koljevic added 17, Zarko Cabarkapa 16, Aleksandar Pavlovic 13 and Dejan Milojevic 12. For the losers, Alphonso Ford hit 23, though he increased his numbers when the game was already decided. Roberto Chiacig added 13 points and Dusan Vukcevic 11. Mirsad Turkcan had 14 rebounds but was held to 7 points.
If a team shoots 4 of 5 threes in the first quarter and the other shoots at 0 of 4, and the score is 24-29 after the first 10 minutes, the latter should be the one most satisfied with the situation. This is what happened Wednesday night in Podgorica. Buducnost started well as the game was balanced, 8-8 in minute 4, while Siena made its way with shots from downtown: three by Mindaugas Zukauskas and two by Ford for a 16-25 lead in minute 8. Things looked bad for the hosts, but the accuracy of Milojevic and Brown limited the damage to 5 points after 10 minutes. The key moment of the first half was the entrance of Slavko Vranes the young "European Yao Ming", 19 years old and 228 centimeters tall. With his long arms, Vranes managed to block lots of spaces under his team's rim, including two monster blocks, and he also had a good offensive contribution. With the security provided by Vranes on defense, Alexandar Pavlovic was the perfect partner for Brown, a player who everyday confirms why he was signed in Podgorica. Brown ended the first half with 14 points, being the best scorer of a team that played its best 20 minutes of the season so far. The big problem for Buducnost arrived with the fourth foul of Vranes, which was protested by the fans and the player himself. The players in Siena decreased their shooting accuracy from the 6.25 line to 6 of 10, and together with that, Buducnost was shooting a 20 of 29 in two-pointers while Siena was stuck at 6 of 18.
The guests were back in the game early in the third period thanks to an aggressive defense that allowed for some steals and easy baskets on fastbreaks. After a jumper by Ford for 53-49 and Pavlovic's third foul, things didn't look good for Buducnost, but coach Vlado Djurovic played his last card: young guard Ivan Koljevic, who didn't disappoint anybody. Brown struggled successfully with Chiacig, while Vrbica Stefanov wasn't able to find his place on court and Turkcan was far from being the player that last year had shined in the very same pavillion dressing CSKA's jersey. An offensive rebound by Brown for 57-51 and then 6 straight points by Cabarkapa for 63-51 broke the game open at the end of the third quarter. The last 10 minutes were an exhibition by the host team, mainly Koljevic who sealed the win with a three on the buzzer.
Wednesday, December 4, 2002