Hemofarm Stada lost the battle but won the war on Tuesday, dropping a 78-73 road decision to Buducnost in Podgorica, Montenegro, but nonetheless advancing to the Last 16 for having won the first game in their series by 26 points. Hemofarm moves onto the second round to face Akasvayu Girona of Spain, with their series set to start on March 11 in Vrsac, Serbia. Hemofarm had only to keep the score close, and did so throughout the game before easing up at the finish. Buducnost saw its ULEB Cup season end on an up note, playing much better than in the first game, although much of Hemofarm's job was already done in that series opener. This time, Hemofarm stayed close thanks to Vladan Vukosavljevic's dominance in the paint, where he had 24 points, and that of Rawle Marshall, who hit 5 triples among his 24 points, on the perimeter. They got early help from Milivoje Bozovic, who finished with 10 points. Vladimir Dasic led four double-digit Buducnost scorers with 17 points and grabbed 5 steals. Bojan Bakic contributed 15 points, Nemanja Gordic 14 and Nikola Otasevic 12.
Hemofarm had to keep pace only and did so by going ahead early thanks to Bozovic's first baskets at 4-6. Bakic shot Buducnost ahead before Gordic's 5 points in a row made it 15-8. Marshall and Nebojsa Joksimovic joined in the scoring to keep Hemofarm within 22-20 at the end of one quarter. Buducnost, knowing it needed plenty points, again surged ahead to lead 31-21 early in the second quarter on back-to-back triples by Dasic and Otasevic. When Nenad Mijatovic joined them from behing the arc and Vladislav Dragojlovic added a two-pointer, the lead ballooned to 39-25, forcing a Hemofarm timeout. The guests took the ball inside to Vukosavljevic for consecutive baskets and went back to him for 3 final points to pull within 44-36 at halftime.
Stefan Markovic joined Joksomovic, Vukosavljevic and Marshall for Hemofarm to trim the difference further, to 47-44, shortly after halftime. Buducnost mounted another run behind Bakic and Dasic, whose three-pointer sparked a 7-0 finish to the quarter, putting the Buducnost lead in double-digit territory again, 64-52 after three quarters. Dasic kept it going with one more triple for a 67-52 lead to open the final quarter, but Hemofarm had seen enough. Vukosavljevic and Marshall spurred a 2-16 response that neutralized any last attempt by the Montenegrin team to complete its mission impossible.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008