Hemofarm Stada drastically improved its chances of reaching the Eurocup Final Eight with a resounding 65-91 win over Crvena Zvezda on Tuesday. The win – Hemofarm’s second straight over Crvena Zvezda – improved the club’s record to 3-1 in Group K, while dropping Crvena Zvezda to 1-3. Hemofarm can reach the Final Eight with a win in either of its two remaining games. Crvena Zvezda must win its two remaining games and hope for other results to go its way to have any chance of reaching Torino. Hemofarm dominated from the start, led 11-32 after 10 minutes, increased it to 15-44 midway through the second period and coasted after that, with Crvena Zvezda never getting closer than 17 the rest of the way. Bojan Krstovic and Stefan Markovic paced Hemofarm with 15 points apiece. Boban Marjanovic added 14 and Milivoje Bozovic and Milan Macvan had 11 each for the winners, who recorded 20 assists to just 2 for Crvena Zvezda. Hemofarm also shot 10 for 19 from downtown, while Crvena Zvezda slumped to 2 for 12 on three-pointers. Vladimir Stimac paced Crvena Zvezda with 18 points, Elmeden Kikanovic added 15 and Andre Owens 11.
Stimac opened the scoring for Crvena Zvezda when he drew a foul and sank a free throw, but Marjanovic soon made his impact felt with a pair of baskets and a blocked shot at the other end as Hemofarm went ahead 1-4. Stimac added a basket on the offensive glass, but Hemofarm had more energy as a layup and a three-point play by Nebojsa Joksimovic made it 3-9. Stimac was Crvena Zvezda’s only offensive weapon, but he alone was no match for Hemofarm. Marjanovic converted a basket-plus foul to give the visitors a double-digit lead and Milan Macvan stretched the lead to 10-24 before Kikanovic’s free throw marked the first Crvena Zvezda points from someone other than Stimac. But triples by Miljan Pavkovic ad Macvan helped Hemofarm finish the first period up 11-32. Marton Bader's basket inside and Markovic’s free throws stretched the Hemofarm run to 12 points and gave the visitors a 25-point lead before Nemenja Bjelica hit a pair of free throws. Owens also scored from the line as Crvena Zvezda started to show signs of life, but a Bozovic triple and a Bader basket soon had Hemofarm up by 29. An Owens triple ignited a 9-0 Crvena Zvezda push in which Kikanovic netted 4, but a Bozovic three-point play ensured Hemofarm a 28-51 lead at halftime.
Stimac scored three times in the first few minutes of the second half as Crvena Zvezda got within 17, but Marjanovic responded with a three-point play to silence the hosts’ hopes. The two teams traded baskets for the next several minutes, with Kikanovic leading Crvena Zvezda and Krstovic heating up for Hemofarm, but Crvena Zvezda was never able to get any closer than 17. Bader scored inside to make it 50-71 at the end of the third period. A Bozovic triple early in the fourth quarter increased the lead to 26 and allowed Hemofarm to celebrate a crucial road victory that draws it considerably closer to the Final Eight.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009