| Partizan registered its first win in Top 16 Group G by downing Lottomatica Roma 84-76 in front of a sellout crowd and a wild basketball atmosphere at Pionir Arena in Belgrade, Serbia on Wednesday. Partizan now ties with Unicaja for second place in Group G with a 1-1 record. Meanwhile, Lottomatica dropped to 0-2 and needs to start winning right away to keep its Quarterfinal Playoffs dreams alive. Uros Tripkovic paced the winners with 20 points on 6-for-8 three-pointers. Novica Velikovic posted a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Stephane Lasme had 13 points for Partizan. Primoz Brezec led Lottomatica with 19 points on 8-for-9 two-point shooting. Sani Becirovic added 17 on 13-for-14 free throw shooting, Andre Hutson had 13 while Ibby Jaaber got 11 for the guests. An outstanding Velickovic and a wild dunk-and-foul by Lasme allowed Partizan to get a double-digit lead, 27-16, after 10 minutes. Tripkovic buried 4 three-pointers late in the second quarter to keep Partizan way ahead, 50-42, at halftime. Partizan kept a safe lead throughout the second half and another triple by Tripkovic sealed the outcome, 74-59, with seven minutes to go. Lottomatica did not recover and Partizan cruised to a key home win.
Velickovic got Partizan going with a three-pointer, as Lottomatica struggled to score in the opening two minutes. Brezec, however, scored over Slavko Vranes in the low post while a fast break layup by Jaaber gave the guests their first lead, 3-4. Brandon Jennings capped a 0-6 run with an easy layup before Velickovic rescued the hosts with an acrobatic basket. Brezec sank a turnaround jumper, but Milenko Tepic fed Velickovic for an open triple that tied it at 8-8. Brezec kept pacing Roma with a long jumper, which Vranes matched with a dunk. Cedomir Vitkovac struck from downtown to put Partizan back ahead, 13-10. Velickovic scored again, as both teams had entered the foul bonus already. Becirovic and Vitkovac traded free throws after a Lottomatica timeout, while a driving layup by Velickovic kept Partizan ahead 19-12. Becirovic hit more foul shots, but Tripkovic stepped up with a three-pointer and Lasme followed a basket with an outstanding dunk-and-foul to make it 27-16 after 10 minutes.
Brezec scored in the paint right at the start of the second quarter as Lottomatica was more aggressive at both ends now. Partizan dominated the boards through an outstanding Lasme while a turnaround jumper by Tepic scored a 29-18 margin. Brezec shined with a backdoor layup and soon added a tip-in to bring Roma some hope at 29-22. Hutson took over with a power layup and free throws by Gigi Datome capped a 0-8 Lottomatica run. Vranes and Brezec exchanged foul shots before a put-back dunk by Jan Vesely gave Partizan some fresh air at 33-28. Jaaber took over with a reverse layup, but Tripkovic immediately answered from downtown. An unstoppable Brezec scored again. Then Velickovic and Jaaber traded triples. Tripkovic stayed red hot with another three-pointer before free throws by Becirovic kept the guests within 42-37. Tepic took over with a fast break layup that Angelo Gigli matched with a power dunk. Tripkovic buried his third triple and beat the buzzer with a turnaround shot from downtown to fix the halftime score at 50-42.
Tepic scored in penetration immediately after the break, but Jaaber sank a three-pointer to keep Lottomatica within 52-45. Aleksandar Rasic shined with a driving layup before scored again for a 56-45 Partizan lead. Hutson banked in a mid-range jumper,but the guests only managed to trade baskets at full speed now. Velickovic provided a highlight with a coast-to-coast layup that Vesely followed with a dunk to break the game open, 60-47. Roma called timeout after which Roberto Gabini stepped up with a corner triple and Becirovic sank free throws to give the guests some hope at 62-52. Lasme made foul shots and Vitkovac added a reverse layup, but Brezec and Becirovic kept the guests within 66-56. Partizan had started to use long possessions to keep the game clock running. Even with that, a free throw by Becirovic brought Roma within single digits. Velickovic took over with a wild put-back dunk that boosted the hosts' lead to 68-57 after 30 minutes.
Vesely made a free throw early in the fourth quarter as Lottomatica needed to speed up the game tempo to ignite a comeback. Lasme scored in transition while the hosts' defense held Roma scoreless for two minutes. Hutson sank free throws, but Tripkovic buried his sixth triple to seal the outcome, 74-59, with seven minutes to go. Lottomatica kept trying, however, as Brezec tried to get his team as close as possible. Vitkovac shined with an off-balance layup that Hutson matched with a six-meter jumper. Both teams fought for points differential and tiebreak purposes now. Partizan kept powering the offensive boards, but Hutson and Jennings brought Roma within 76-66. Lasme followed a layup with free throws as Brezec fouled out with three minutes to go. Nothing changed until the final buzzer, as all Partizan fans had plenty of time to celebrated a well-deserved win.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009