Crevena Zvezda remained in control of Group D with a convincing 100-81 win over Real Madrid on Tuesday in Belgrade, Serbia. League-leading scorer Milan Gurovic erupted for 35 points and drew 12 fouls to Crevena Zvezda to a 3-0 start. Madrid, which is the undefeated league-leader in the Spanish League, dropped to 1-2 in the ULEB Cup, despite the best efforts of Louis Bullock, who scored 22 points in 26 minutes. Real led by 2 in the second quarter before Peter Popovic scored back-to-back baskets inside to spark a 13-2 lead as Crevena Zvezda took the lead for good. Charles Smith brought Madrid within 67-62 at the start of the fourth quarter, but Gurovic answered with a triple and layup and Vuk Radivojevic drained six free throws as part of a game-breaking 13-0 run that sealed the game's fate. Radivojevic finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists and Popovic added 16 points and 10 boards for the home team, which was without point guard Antonio Burks. His father died and the player left the team to travel to America. Real's Smith had 16 points and Felipe Reyes 12 points and 8 rebounds in defeat.
Madrid's Marko Tomas missed the first shot and Reyes did the same as both teams traded turnovers almost three minutes. Smith finally netted a triple to get on the board, but Gurovic did the same at the other end. Real played an extremely aggressive defense, but Billy Thomas and Gurovic gave Zvezda a 11-9 lead after seven minutes. Kerem Tunceri put Madrid back on top, but Radivojevic scored 4 straight points. A Nenad Misanovic dunk and Radivojevic fastbreak hoop put the hosts up 6 before Bullock beat the buzzer with a triple that made it 21-18 after 10 minutes. Gurovic and Ratko Varda traded baskets in the opening minute of the second period, but Gurovic committed a technical and Real took the lead when Bullock scored 4 points. Popovic answered with 4 of his own and Crvena zvezda led again, 32-25, after a 9-0 run, which ended with a Tadija Dragicevic triple. The hosts were using two playmakers, which caused some confusion for the Real defense. The visitors were scoring only from the free-throw line via Bullock, but Gurovic was eroding the Real defense. After his three-point play, Crvena Zveda led 39-29. When Popovic scored, Zvezda led 45-30 after a 13-3 run. Bullock ended the Real drought with a three-pointer and ended the first half with Crvena Zveda leading 45-33.
Raul Lopez and Venson Hamilton gave Real a strong start to the second half, scoring the first 7 points and cutting the lead to 45-40. Pero Antic committed his fourth personal, but soon he fired in a bomb and the gap grew to 50-40. Gurovic and Smith traded triples as Real tried to climb back from long-range. Smith added another bomb and a two-pointer to get within 56-49 midway through the third. Gurovic reestablished a double-digit lead from the line, but Real answered with 5 points. Again it was Gurovic with a three-point play that kept the hosts in control. In the final second of the period, Hamilton made and then missed a free throw, Varda took the rebound and scored to make it 66-59 at the end of third period. Gurovic and Smith traded bombs at the beginning of the final period and Radivojevic scored 4 points from the line via an Alex Mumbru technical. Crvena Zvezda used a 14-0 run to build a 19-point lead before Bullock scored. He then led Real on a 1-8 spurt, but it was too late. Reyes missed four times from the penalty line and Gurovic punished Madrid with 5 points. With two minutes left, over 6,000 fans in Pionir Arena started to celebrate Crvena Zvezda's third victory in the ULEB Cup. They all were at their feet until the last moments of a thrilling 100-81 win.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006