Red Star shed one of the two teams it was tied with for first place in Group F by holding back Panellinios of Greece 79-69 at home in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday. Red Star improved to 2-0 and will retain at least a piece of first place in the Group F table, while Panellinios dropped to 1-1. Red Star established big early leads that peaked at 20 points in the second quarter before Panellinios tried to make a game of it - but couldn't quite - in the second half. Tadija Dragicevic again paced the winners with 22 points, including 4 of 11 hits from three-point range. He got scoring help from Boris Bakic, with 14 points, and Nenad Misanovic, with 11. For Panellinios, the big gun was Mamadou N'Daiye, who poured in 26 points off the bench. Only Evangelos Karampoulas, with 14 points, joined him in double figures, however.
Panellinios jumped ahead 2-5 behind Anthony Grundy's scoring, but Dragicevic soon poured in 5 straight points and Mirko Kovac a triple
for a 10-0 run by the hosts to a 12-5 lead. As its defense forced Panellinios into shooting long-distance misses, Red Star guards Boris Bakic and Omar Cook drilled triples in a new run of 15-0 that boosted the difference to 29-13 after one quarter. With N'Diaye's entrance, Panellinios
started to play stronger under the boards, while Red Star took advantage of the lead to let teenager Pavel Gromyko play his first
ULEB Cup minutes. Elmedin Kikanovic's free throws pushed Red Star's lead to 41-21 before Dimitris Kalaitzidis led Panellinios on a 0-7 run. Later he added another tirple that Kovac matched to preserve Red Star's double-digits lead, 45-35, after 20 minutes. Karamboulas opened the second-half scoring for Panellinios, and while Cook and Dragicevic kept hitting from behind the arc for Red Star, the visiting big men found
easier ways to basket. Halfway through the third quarter, Panellinios was as close as 55-49 as the Greek defense now forced Red Star's guards into long-range misses. The quarter ended with Red Star clinging to a 63-57 advantage. Panellinios looked ready for a takeover as Gundy scored to open the final quarter and Red Star went scoreless for more than 4 minutes. But guests took no advantage as the score held at 66-59 in minute 35. Bakic finally scored twice in an 8-2 run and the home fans started to sing as Red Star eased its way to the finish of a second Group F win in as many tries.
Stevan Karadzic, Red Star head coach
"The most important thing is that we won. We played
extremely well and I am satisfied because after several
weeks finally we looked like a team. Also we played
great in defense and finally we had more rebounds than
our opponent. Congratulations to my guys."
Omar Cook. Red Star guard
"Our defense was the key. We prepared to play team
defense and when we managed to do that everything else
was easier. But there is no time to celebrate
because there are too many ULEB Cup games in our group
which is pretty balanced at the moment."
Georgios Kalafatakis, Panellinios head coach
"We had the chance to play a good game tonight. Red Star
played much better and they deserved the win. This is
our first European competition after 20 years. Our
starting point guard is injured and we also missed
Sanders who is injured, too. He is a very important
player in our team. We are not an experienced team but we
tried hard to be back in the game in the second half. We
could not do it because we did not score any baskets
due to Red Star's offensive rebounding in crucial
minutes of the game."
Mamadou N'Diaye, Panellinios center
"Nevermind my high index rating, but we lost the
game. That is the most important thing. I hope next week I
will have less points and rebounds but my team
wins the game. Tonight we missed experience. Congratulations to
Tuesday, November 13, 2007