The season started off with a bang for the Euroleague's newest member as Prokom went in to Belgrade and took a 64-66 victory from host Partizan Pivara MB on Wednesday in Group A. Prokom's veteran players held things together in a tight game down the stretch, and when Vule Avdalovic missed at the buzzer, the visitors had a valuable victory to begin their Euroleague experience. Prokom was led by big man Adam Wojcik with 15 points, while Filip Dylewicz added 11 for the winners. Prokom made 24 steals in the game, including 5 each by guards Mark Miller and Tomas Pacesas. For Partizan Dejan Milojevic scored 20 points adding 8 rebounds. Vule Avdalovic scored 12 and Milan Gurovic 10 points.
More than 2 minutes passed before either team could find the basket. There were five turnovers altogether before Milojevic finally put some points up for Partizan, then Prokom's Wojcik followed with a dunk. When Wojcik draw a foul on teenager Semih Erden, it looked obvious already that the visitors had an advantage in experience underneath the rim. Milan Gurovic took over the show with 7 consecutive points, 4 at the foul line and 3 from behind the arc, to shoot Partizan ahead 8-4. Goran Jagodnik answered with a triple and Andrija Ciric popped off the bench to score for Prokom and tie it 10-10. Vule Avdalovic and Milojevic brought to Partizan a new 14-10 lead, and only a triple by Mark Miller kept Prokom as close as 16-13 after 10 minutes.
Prokom continued to play better defense in the second period, but in offense there were lot of turnovers and missed shoots. Partizan took advantage of that to jump in front, 24-17, after 6-0 mini-run. Wojcik came back on the court and sparked a surge in Prokom. In next 4 minutes, Prokom made 0-14 run lead to take over at 24-31 and hush the home crowd. Partizan could not defend and looked confused on offense in those moments. Avdalovic and Uros Tripkovic finally found the basket again, however, and managed to cut the opponents' lead to 30-35 at the half.
Like the first half, the second one started with turnovers until Milojevic scored, but Wojcik and Tomas Masiulis answered with second-chance points for Prokom. Goran Jagodnik guarded Gurovic so well that Partizan`s ace couldn't find the open shoot position. Uros Tripkovic took the opportunity after halftime to shoot from downtown, but only landed on attempt. Milojevic had a pair of baskets to pull Partizan within 39-41 but two bombs in a row from Pacesas sparked a 1-8 Prokom run to a 43-51 lead by the end of the third quarter.
But the game was far from over. Partizan started the final quarter aggressively, pushed by its 6,000 fans in Pionir Arena. Prokom players kept cool, however, showing their experience as Darius Maskoliunas and Dylewicz fired in a triple each for their team's first double-digit lead, 47-57, with 7 minutes to go. Gurovic scored a three-pointer too, before his Partizan teammate, guard Petar Bozic, sprained and ankle and center Predrag Samardziski was fouled out . When Slobodan Bozovic scored on a rebound, Milojevic continued performing and Partizan made a 7-0 run to cut the difference to 54-57. From that moment each team played basket for basket. Bozovic scored again, Miller answered and Tripkovic missed two tripples. A Masiulis jumper with less than 2 minutes to go brought Prokom 56-62 lead. Bozovic and Avdalovic scored to pull Partizan within 60-62 with 1 minute to play. Bozovic stole but Milojevic lost the ball in Prokom's paint. Free throws were exchanged until Wojcik dunked with 7 seconds left for a 62-65 Prokom advantage. After Tripkovic made his two from the line, Jagodnik gave another chance to Partizan by missing a foul shot with 5 seconds left. Avdalovic tried to change the scoreboard, but his triple on the buzzer missed and Prokom went home a winner.
Wednesday, November 3, 2004