ALBA Berlin holds off Zvezda for valuable victory
In an exciting showdown that went down to the wire, ALBA Berlin bested Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 73-68 in the German capital to improve to 6-6 in Top 16 Group F. ALBA remained strong in the fight for a playoffs spot, while Zvezda dropped to 3-9 and was mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt. Marko Banic paced the winners with 18 points on 8-of-10 two-point shooting. Alex Renfroe added 13 points and 6 assists, Leon Radosevic scored 10, while Reggie Redding dished a career-high 11 assists for ALBA. Boban Marjanovic led Zvezda with career-high numbers - 27 points and a performance index ranking of 40. He added 10 rebounds for his 14th double-double this season. Charles Jenkins added 19 points for the guests. Banic took over early and a three-pointer by Renfroe gave the hosts a 15-6 lead. Jonathan Tabu and Radosevic helped ALBA to a 22-9 lead after 10 minutes. Banic kept pushing ALBA and got help from Redding and Neils Giffey to boost the hosts' lead to 39-22 at halftime. Marjanovic took over after the break to bring Zvezda within 59-49 after 30 minutes. Luka Mitrovic and a red-hot Jenkins led Zvezda to tie the game at 61-61 with six minutes left. Radosevic and Renfroe rescued ALBA and a jumper by Redding sealed the outcome, 71-64, with less than two minutes remaining.
First quarter: Banic shines as hosts take control
Marjanovic got Zvezda going with a layup which Banic erased with his trademark mid-range jumper. A one-handed floater by Reggie Redding soon gave ALBA a 4-2 lead. Marjanovic shined with a one-handed dunk, but Banic took over with a reverse layup. A jump hook by Leon Radosevic gave the hosts an 8-4 lead. Marcus Williams found Nikola Kalinic for a layup in transition, before Banic sank a four-meter jumper and free throws by Jamel McLean put ALBA ahead 12-6. Alex Renfroe came off the bench and immediately delivered with a triple from the corner, which caused Zvezda to stop the game down 9. Jonathan Tabu hit foul shots and improved on Charles Jenkins's driving layup with a bomb from downtown for a 20-8 ALBA advantage. Marjanovic split free throws and had a big block at the other end, but a five-meter jumper by Radosevic gave ALBA a 22-9 cushion after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: ALBA surges ahead
Jenkins took over with a driving layup early in the quarter, but a red-hot Banic matched it with a close basket. Zvezda struggled to score without Marjanovic on court and a four-meter jumper by Radosevic saw the guests call timeout at 26-11. Marjanovic returned to the floor and rescued Zvezda with free throws, but he didn't find much help around until Jenkins stepped up with another fast break basket. ALBA called timeout and McLean sank foul shots to restore a 28-16 margin. Both teams kept struggling to score until Nemanja Dangubic shined with an off-balance basket. After Redding downed a one-handed floater, Renfroe provided a highlight with a coast-to-coast layup. A three-pointer by Neils Giffey broke the game open at 35-18. Banic hit a turnaround jumper,before Marjanovic followed free throws with a layup. A buzzer-beating layup by Renfroe fixed the halftime score at 39-22.
Third quarter: Marjanovic rescues Zvezda
Marjanovic hit free throws immediately after the break, but Radosevic beat the shot clock buzzer with a baseline jumper. Cliff Hammonds took over with a coast-to-coast layup that Stefan Jovic bettered with a three-pointer to make it 43-27. After McLean downed a six-meter jumper, Jovic scored again and a three-pointer by Jenkins caused ALBA to call timeout at 45-32. Alex King banked in a triple, but Marjanovic scored down low. A jumper by Banic gave the hosts fresh air at 50-34. Jovic insisted from downtown and Jenkins added a layup to get within 50-39. Tabu sank his second triple, but Jenkins and Marjanovic brought the guests within 53-45. Redding buried a catch-and-shoot turnaround jumper. Renfroe dunked in transition, but an outstanding Marjanovic brought Zvezda within 57-49. A layup-plus-foul by Banic gave ALBA a 59-49 advantage.
Fourth quarter: ALBA bounces back in time
Jenkins swished a mid-range jumper early in the quarter and soon added a free throw to get within 59-52. Maik Zirbes stepped up with a tip-in and Jaka Blazic added a fast break slam to make it a 3-point game. After Luka Mitrovic scored in penetration, Banic stepped up with a big basket in the low post and a three-pointer by Jenkins tied it at 61-61 with six minutes left. Radosevic shined with an off-balance basket and free throws by Renfroe restored a 65-61 ALBA lead. Renfroe kept pacing the hosts with a reverse layup that Marjanovic bettered with a dunk-and-foul. Banic hit free throws and a jumper by Redding sealed the outcome at 71-64 in the next-to-last minute. Zvezda struggled to score right when it mattered most and even though Marjanovic kept trying to change things, ALBA had plenty of time to celebrate an important home win.
Thursday, March 26, 2015