Zvezda proves too much for visiting Ulm
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade made a triumphant return to the 7DAYS EuroCup, downing ratiopharm Ulm by 88-73 at home in Aleksandar Nikolic Hall to go 1-0 in Group D. Billy Baron buried 10 points, Joe Ragland 17, Stratos Perperoglou and Michael Ojo 14 each for Zvezda. Isaac Fotu paced Ulm with 19. Ulm shot ahead 3-9 before Zvezda answered with a 16-4 run on back-to-back threes by Baron and Mouhammad Faye and stayed ahead 28-21 on Perperoglou's at the first-quarter buzzer. Fotu got hot before Ryan Thompson and Patrick Miller attacked the basket, bringing Ulm within 46-43 at halftime. It stayed close until Ragland and Ojo fueled an 11-0 run to make it 61-48, but Ulm scored the last 8 points of the third quarter for a 62-59 score. It stayed close until Stratos Perperoglou's 5 consecutive points led to the game's biggest lead yet, 76-64, with 5 minutes left, paving the way to victory as Ojo ruled the paint the rest of the way.
After one center, Maik Zirbes, was slowed with 2 quick fouls, Zvezda got hurt inside by Fotu and Ulm's driving guards. But that only lasted until Ojo put his wide body to the task of rebounding and blocking shots. His 4 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in the first half turned into 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal at the finish as he dominated the rest of the way.
Movers and shakers
Billy Baron and Joe Ragland took turns tormenting Ulm and combined for 36 points, 4 three-pointers, 8 assists and 9 fouls drawn while playing more than 25 minutes each – in other words, these hard-to-stop twin point guards shared the floor for at least 5 minutes.
It was still close, 67-64, when Perperoglou 5 points started a 15-0 run in which Ojo and Borisa Siminic had blocks and Zvezda's defense decided it.
Nine different Zvezda players shared 22 assists, the club's fourth-highest total in 111 EuroCup games to date.
Zvezda hits the road for a historic first date with AS Monaco in Round 2, while Ulm returns home to face Galatasaray Istanbul and try to break their 1-1 tie from the 2012-13 season.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018