Partizan trounces Trento for 2-0 Top 16 start
Partizan NIS Belgrade led from start to finish in routing Dolomiti Energia Trento 58-83 to become the first team with two wins in the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 this season. As such, Partizan moved atop Group E at 2-0, while Trento fell to fourth in the four-team group at 0-2. Rade Zagorac and Marcus Paige scored 11 points each to lead a balanced Partizan effort. Nikola Jankovic added 9 points and 9 rebounds – including a career-best 5 offensive boards – as the visitors outrebounded the home team 32-44. James Blackmon paced Trento with 12 points and Fabio Mian and Aaron Craft netted 10 points apiece.
Rashawn Thomas had the hot hand early for Partizan, though Alessandro Gentile was almost his equal to keep Trento close. Thomas sent a pair of assists to Jankovic as the visitors increased their lead to 8-16. Despite a Trento timeout, Partizan retained the momentum and Zagorac gave his team a double-digit lead. Justin Knox got going for Trento, but a pair of threes by Paige stretched the difference to 12-24 after 10 minutes. The teams traded scores early in the second quarter with a triple by Uros Trifunovic putting Partizan ahead by 14. Despite the best efforts of Rashard Kelly, the visitors boosted their lead behind threes by Zagorac and Stefan Bircevic, the latter of whom added free throws for a 25-42 margin. Paige drained another three and a long-two to take the Partizan lead into the 20s. Free throws by Craft settled the halftime score at 28-47.
Blackmon made just the second three-pointer of the night for the hosts, but Partizan remained in control thanks to dominant play inside by Jankovic. Ognjen Jaramaz pushed the margin to 31-54. Mian heated up for the hosts to close the gap to 40-57, but after a three by Novica Veickovic, the margin was back in the 20s, 40-61, by the end of the third quarter. James McAdoo made his Partizan debut early in the fourth quarter and promptly delivered a three-point play for a 44-70 advantage. Little changes after that as Partizan maintained its healthy lead en route to a valuable road win.
The defensive difference
Trento's 58 points marked the fewest the club has ever finished a game with in the EuroCup. A big reason for its offensive woes was that point guard Aaron Craft, who entered the game ranked second in the competition with 7.6 assists per game, was limited to a single assist. Trento shot poorly from all distances, making just 17 fo 38 two-pointers (44.7%), 5 of 28 threes (17.9%) and 9 of 15 free throws (60%).
Partizan's total team effort
Al 12 Partizan players scored and grabbed a rebound. Ten of them dished at least 1 assist. Eleven of them played more than 10 minutes with the lone exception being newcomer James McAdoo, who racked up a performance index rating of 9 in 7:26 minutes – all in the fourth quarter.
Visitors were hot early
Partizan took control in the first half in which it made 8 of 14 three-pointers en route to a 28-47 lead at the break. Marcus Paige marked his 10th straight game with a three by shooting 3 for 4 in the first half, while Rade Zagorac was perfect on 2 tries. It was a surprising start given that Partizan entered the game shooting 32.3% from downtown this season. The visitors eased up in the second half and made just 2of 7 the rest of the way, but were able to nurse their big lead from the first half frenzy.
Both teams play their Round 3 games on Tuesday evening, January 21. Partizan visits Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, while Trento hosts Segafredo Virtus Bologna.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020