Stelmet Zielona Gora outlasts Panathinaikos
Stelmet Zielona Gora outlasted Panathinaikos Athens 71-68 on Friday evening to record its first win of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. The Polish champs improved to 1-3 in Group C, like Panathinaikos, to join Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir in a tied for fourth place. Mateusz Ponitka recorded 13 points and 10 rebounds and Dejan Borovnjak added 12 points for the winners, who enjoyed a balanced attack. Zielona Gora started strong and led by as many as 12 in the second quarter before settling for a 40-33 halftime advantage. Panathinaikos made its way back in the fourth and tied the game at 63-63 on a James Feldeine three-pointer. But the hosts scored the next 5 points and the visitors missed a pair of makeable threes in the closing seconds to leave the victory in Poland. J.R. Reynolds added 7 points and 7 assists for Zielona Gora, which also outrebounded Panathinaikos 41-31. Feldeine paced Panathinaikos with 15 points, Sasha Pavlovic scored 11 and Ognjen Kuzmic 10.
First quarter: Seven Zielona Gora players score in taking early lead
Panathinaikos won the opening tip and Vladimir Jankovic struck first with a layup. The hosts went ahead on a Dejan Borovnjak hook shot and a Vlad Moldoveanu three-pointer. Ponitka’s layup made it 7-2. Nick Calathes found Miroslav Raduljica with position inside for an easy score, but Lukasz Koszarek answered with a jumper at the other end. After Jankovic scored in transition, Borovnjak took a pass from Ponitka for a layup. The Greens closed the gap through a free throw by Antonis Fotsis and a Raduljica layup. Ponitka used a fantastic spin move to score a layup and Raduljica countered by overpowering the defense at the other end. A Feleine three-pointer at the two-minute mark gave Panathinaikos its first lead, 13-14. Dee Bost rattled in a jumper as Zielona Gora regained the lead. Nemanja Djurusic added a free throw before Pavlovic matched him. Przemyslaw Zamojski drained a three from the corner for a 19-15 Zielona Gora advantage after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Zamojski, Ponitka help hosts increase cushion
Szymon Szewczyk and Calathes traded threes in the first minute of the quarter. Bost attacked the rim for a layup on the 24-second clock buzzer before another Szewczyk triple made it 27-18. Djurusic worked hard for an offensive rebound and a basket to give Zielona Gora a double-digit lead. Calathes netted free throws and on the ensuing possession, Pavlovic stole the ball from Adam Hrycaniuk to lead to a Jankovic basket and foul as the greens closed to 29-22. Ponitka responded with a bucket and Zamojski drained a triple to extend the lead to 12. Pavlovic went into the heart of the Zielona Gora defense and came away with a layup. Calathes added a free throw. Moldoveanu dumped a great pass inside for a Hrycaniuk layup, but Calathes whipped a pass inside for Kuzmic on the pick-and-roll for an easy score. Pavlovic drew Panathinauikos to within 36-29, but Zamojski went inside for a layup. Pavlovic added a tip-in only to see Koszarek lead Ponitka to an easy layup. Pavlovic free throws set the halftime score at 40-33.
Third quarter: Zielona Gora holds steady
Feldeine created a steal and finished with an uncontested slam. After Borovnjak split free throws, Feldeine drove for a layup that cut the Greens’ deficit to 4. Borovnjak and Koszarek hit mid-range jumpers to double the difference. Fotsis countered with a triple, but Borovnjak got a lucky roll from a mid-range jumper. Kuzmic scored inside and drew a foul in making it 47-42 midway through the quarter. Jankovic split free throws, however J.R. Reynolds first points of the game came on a three-pointer to re-extend the lead to 7. Kuzmic put on a move in the paint, however Zielona Gora thrilled its fans when Djurusic rejected Feldeine and ignited a fast break that Ponitka capped with a three-pointer to make it 53-45. After a Panathinaikos timeout, Szewczyk restored a double-digit lead. Jankovic split free throws, but Reynolds countered with a tough layup. Jankovic scored once more from the line and Pavlovic drove baseline for a layup that made it 57-49.
Fourth quarter: Feldeine leads Greens back to set up dramatic finish
Raduljica muscled his way to another basket, but the Zielona Gora defense held strong. Bost found Ponitka open on an inbounds play and the latter dunked. Panathinaikos held Zielone Gora without a point for two and a half minutes, but only managed a Feldeine dunk in that stretch. After a technical foul on the Zielona Gora bench, Feldeine made a free throw and Kuzmic scored inside to make it 59-56 with five minutes to go. Bost and Kuzmic each made a pair of free throws. Pavlovic massed twice from the line, but Zielona Gora was unable to capitalize on that. Feldeine’s layup made it a 1-point game with three minutes to go. Borovnjak converted a pair from the line, however Feldeine nailed a triple from the wing to tie the game at 63-63. Reynolds’s free throws put Zielona Gora back in front and Feldeine missed a three at the other end. Koszarek hit a clutch three-pointer with 100 seconds remaining that brought the crowd to its feet. After a timeout, Calathes scored quickly for the Greens. Borovnjak split free throws with 37 seconds remaining to make it a two-possession game, but Dimitris Diamantidis hit a big three-pointer just seconds later. Fotsis fouled Djurusic on a rebound attempt with 9 seconds to go and the big man made both shots for a 71-68 lead. After a Panathinaikos timeout, Diamantidis missed a deep three and Pavlovic also got a look, but missed and Moldoveanu corralled the rebound to clinch the victory.
Friday, November 6, 2015