Zvezda holds off Greens in Radonjic debut
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade defeated Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 74-71 in the Serbian capital on Wednesday in Coach Dejan Radonjic's first game back on the Zvezda bench. Zvezda improved to 6-11 in the EuroLeague standings and moved in front of Panathinaikos, which dropped to 5-11. Zvezda led 22-13 after 10 minutes behind an unstoppable Corey Walden and boosted its margin to 48-37 at halftime. The hosts kept a 57-46 margin at the end of the third quarter, but Ioannis Papapetrou rallied Panathinaikos to tie the game, 68-68, in the final minute. Johnny O'Bryant, Walden and Dejan Davidovac were ice cold from the foul line, which allowed Zvezda to win the game. Walden paced the winners with 17 points, Quino Colom added 13 and Ognjen Dobric 11 for Zvezda. Panathinaikos got 20 points from Papapetrou and 16 from Nemanja Nedovic.
Aaron White and Shelvin Mack each struck from downtown to get Panathinaikos going. Ognjen Kuzmic stepped up for Zvezda, but Georgios Papagiannis took over with an alley-oop slam and Papapetrou added a fast break basket for a 4-10 score. Dobric hit a triple and got help from O'Bryant and Davidovac to put the hosts ahead, 13-10, after a 9-0 run. Nedovic downed a three-pointer, but Walden struck three times from beyond the arc for a 22-13 Zvezda lead, which Ben Bentil cut to 22-15 after 10 minutes. Marko Jagodic-Kuridza and Nedovic traded triples early in the second quarter. Aleksa Radanov scored in penetration and Dobric added a tip-in for a 29-18 Zvezda margin. Marcus Foster and Papagiannis tried to change things for Panathinaikos, but Colom and Dobric sank back-to-back three-pointers to boost the hosts' lead to 41-25. Papapetrou answered with a backdoor layup and found help from White, Nedovic and Bentil to bring Panathinaikos within 48-37 at halftime.
Jagodic-Kuridza and Duop Reath boosted Zvezda's lead to 52-39 after the break. Reath kept pushing the hosts with a layup and a put-back slam, but Dinos Mitoglou and Leonidas Kaselakis gave the Greens hope, 57-46, after 30 minutes. Nedovic hit a mid-range jumper early in the fourth quarter and Howard Sant-Roos scored off a steal, which prompted Zvezda to call timeout at 57-50. Walden rescued the hosts with a driving layup and Colom bettered Nedovic's dunk with a bomb from downtown that gave Zvezda fresh air at 62-52. Papapetrou downed a pair of jumpers, but Colom and Jagodic-Kuridza kept their team out of trouble, 68-57, with over 3 minutes left. Papapetrou stayed on fire with a layup-plus-foul and a couple of three-pointers, the second one from way downtown to tie it at 68-68 with 53.2 seconds left. O'Bryant and Walden hit free throws, but Papapetrou downed another triple. Davidovac drew a foul with 4.4 seconds remaining and made both attempts. Panathinaikos did not get a final shot up in time.
Quino Colom came off the bench and gave his team's offense a big boost. He finished the game with 13 points on 3-of-5 three-point shooting and 4-of-5 on free throws, plus an assist and 3 fouls drawn - all in 14 minutes on the court.
Ioannis Papapetrou had 9 points in a 0-11 run that allowed Panathinaikos to tie the game, 68-68, in the final minute. Johnny O'Bryant hit free throws and Ognjen Dobric collected a critical steal that sent Corey Walden to make it a two-possession game, 72-68. Davidovac sealed the outcome from the foul line.
Three-point shots and turnovers made the difference in this game. Zvezda hit 12 of 30 three-pointers (40.0%) and Panathinaikos only downed 8 of 29 (27.6%). Zvezda only had 10 turnovers and Panathinaikos got 15.
Did you know?
Zvezda has beaten Panathinaikos in Belgrade five times from 2015 to 2020, but never by more than 6 points. Its only double-digit win against the Greens, 91-66, came on December 4, 1969.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week - on Thursday, January 7, 2021. Zvezda hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, featuring former players Lorenzo Brown and Marko Guduric. Panathinaikos welcomes Zenit St. Petersburg, which has some familiar faces including Coach Xavi Pascual and sharpshooter K.C. Rivers.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020