Partizan punches its way to Top 16
Partizan NIS Belgrade sealed its safe passage into the Top 16 with an 86-81 victory over Rytas Vilnius on Wednesday in the Serbian capital. Partizan snapped a two-game losing streak to improve its record to 6-2 atop Group B. Rytas slipped to 3-5. After a first quarter that featured six lead changes, Partizan grabbed a 46-40 halftime advantage and pulled away after that to lead by as many as 18 points in the second half. Rade Zagorac scored 17, Rashawn Thomas hit 16 and Ognjen Jazamaz ended with 14 for the winning side. Eimantas Bendzius scored 15 points for the visitors and Pako Cruz added 10.
Partizan took its first lead with a three from Zagorac, who would score 12 points in total in the first quarter. He hit another one straight after to put the home side up 10-8, but Rytas responded and retook the lead. The visitors remained in front for most of the quarter and led by as much as 13-19 after a Bendzius bucket, but Partizan battled back and went up 23-21 on a William Mosley dunk to give the home side the lead after 10 minutes. Partizan extended that lead early in the second as it continued a 14-0 run. Rytas responded with a Marek Blazevic three-point play and midway through the second quarter it was 30-29. Mosley kept Partizan in front with 4 points in a row. Rytas stayed close, but Partizan finished strong again and led 46-40 at the break following a Gordic three. Rytas cut the deficit to the minimum to start the third quarter, but Jaramaz and Thomas made it 51-46. Marcus Paige extended it 60-53 midway through the third. Partizan took a double-digit lead at 66-55 thanks to a Gordic score as the hosts slowly started to take control of the game. The third quarter ended 68-57. Zagorac hit a three to land a further blow to Rytas's chances and it was 71-57 early in the fourth. The two sides exchanged shots and it was 77-63 midway through the final quarter. Rytas got it back to 79-72 as Partizan fond itself in some foul trouble. Martynas Echodas made it 79-73 from the line and it looked like there was life in Rytas's challenge yet. Jaramaz hit a three and settled nerves to make it 84-73 with just under 2 minutes remaining, but Bendzius replied immediately with a triple to make it 84-76. Sirvydis scored another three, but Mosley responded and Partizan held on.
The player of the game was Ognjen Jaramaz. His stat line doesn’t immediately jump out but his 5 points in crunch time in the fourth ultimately won the game for Partizan. He finished with 14 points and 4 assists and showed off very sharp passing, footwork and dribbling throughout.
Did you notice?
William Mosley had a career-high 4 blocks with all of them coming in the opening half. He rejected Rytas time and time again and he added 8 points with 3 rebounds.
Rytas will try to improve its Top 16 chances when it meets Tofas Bursa in its next game on Tuesday, December 10. Partizan plays Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar the following evening.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019