Union Olimpija of Ljubljana got its second win in Group B on Thursday in front of 3,500 fans that packed the Tivoli arena, by beating Buducnost 83-71. The score might not reflect it, but Olimpija had already broken the game open in the first half, when everybody already knew who the winner would be. The second half though, was a chance for the even younger players of Olimpija, and that was taken advantage of by Buducnost, who cut down the lead. Olimpija is now 2-1 in the group, while Buducnost remains one of the few teamsin the competition that has not a win in the box yet (0-3). The hosts were led by Vladimir Boisa with 18 points, Marino Bazdaric nailed 17 and Josko Poljak contributed 11. For the guests, Aleksandar Smiljanic led the way with 16 points and Dejan Milojevic and Zarko Cabarkapa hit 13 each.
Knowing that Buducnost had outrebounded Panathinaikos and equalled Unicaja in that aspect on the previous games, head coach Tomo Mahoric started the game with the biggest starting five he had available, even though it was shorter than Buducnost's. Cabarkapa, Alaksandar Pavlovic and John Brown were clearly bigger than Goran Jurak, Petar Dujmovic and Boisa, but the hosts were obviously faster. Precisely, the quick fastbreaks were the best weapon for Olimpija which was only down in the score once with 2-3. & points by Bazdaric and the next 8 by Boisa quickly put the hosts ahead, 13-5, which became 21-12 a couple of minutes later and 23-15 at the end of 1.
Visiting head coach Vlado Djurovic changed the tactic and only left Brown on court as big man, but that change did not turn out to be a good thing for Buducnost as Union Olimpija kept pacing the game. A basket by captain Jasmin Hukic put the 29-15 in minute 13, and two minutes later the thing had grown to 36-19, in front of the desperation of the guests. Djurovic tried the timeouts, changes of players and defense, but Olimpija was unstoppable. Not even Slavko Vranes with his 228 centimeters could stop them. The teams arrived at the break 18 points ahead thanks to 2 threes in the last 30 seconds, 46-28.
With only a 39 percent of field goals in front of a 53 percent of Olimpija, 6 more turnovers and losing in rebounding as well by 19-12 together with the only 4 points scored by players off the bench, Buducnost didn't look like it was going to win, but there were still 20 minutes to be played. A 25-point deficit in the first minutes of the second half, 57-32, made things even more difficult for Buducnost, but looked easier for Mahoric, who started giving some minutes to the youngsters of the roster. Virtually the full second half was played by reserve players on both sides. Union Olimpija kept on dominating in all aspects and the lead was under 20 points only twice. In minute 26, Buducnost made it 57-39 after a 0-7 run, and took advantage of the last minutes for a 3-11 tear for the final 83-71.
Thursday, October 24, 2002