The hosts Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade is the first semifinalist of the Belgrade NIJT Qualifying Tournament after downing Buducnost Voli Podgorica 77-59 in the first game of Saturday’s action in Hala BasketCity. Zvezda finished Group A with 3-0 record, while Buducnost drops to 1-2 and has no chances to advance. Zvezda pulled away with a 13-0 run that helped it take 37-27 halftime lead. Buducnost was hanging tough, came within 6 points in the third quarter, but the hosts sealed the deal early in the fourth. Jovan Stojanovic paced the winners with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Aleksandar Aranitovic scored 11, and Jovan Andjelkovic netted 10 for Zvezda. Ognjen Carapic had 14 points for Buducnost, Vasilije Bacovic scored 13, while Mihailo Radunovic and Aleksandar Novosel had 10 apiece in defeat.
Teams traded leads in the first quarter. Bacovic scored a basket-plus-foul, and Carapic nailing a triple for 11-14, but Stefan Lazarevic had a put-back, and Nemanja Dorovic hit a jumper for 18-17 after 10 minutes. Bratislav Jekovic and Nikola Rakicevic hit three-pointers in the second, but Novosel and a fastbreak layup from Aleksandar Dozic kept Buducnost within 24-23. However, a triple and a layup from Danilo Ostojic sparked a 13-0 run during which Stojanovic had a triple and a layup himself, and Zvezda took 37-27 lead into halftime. After the break, Marko Radovanovic made it a 14-point affair, but a triple from Carapic and a basket-plus-foul from Bacovic helped Buducnost cut the deficit to 45-39. But Andjelkovic hit a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, before Jekovic and Lazarevic restored a double-digit margin. Andjelkovic and Aleksandar Aranitovic scored from downtown early in the fourth for 65-49, and Dorovic’s triple made it 72-53, sealing the deal.
Saturday, February 22, 2014