Zvezda crushes Brescia to secure Top 16 spot
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade roared to an emphatic 103-67 home drubbing of Germani Brescia Leonessa, improving to 5-4 and sealing a spot in the Top 16. The result sent Brescia to 3-6 and needing a win next week to maintain its hopes of progressing. A sparkling first-half performance did the damage for Zvezda, which led by a EuroCup record 43 points at the interval after being superbly led by Joe Ragland. He eventually finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists, while Branko Lazic added 14 points on 4-of-4 three-point shooting, Billy Baron netted 13 and Borisa Simanic scored 12. Brescia's Bryon Allen led the scoring with 17 points, while Jared Cunningham added 14 and Tomasso Laquintana 11.
Awudu Abass scored the first points of the game for Brescia from the foul line, but that proved to be the high point for the visiting team as Zvezda soon raced into a commanding lead. Triples from Simanic and Lazic sent the home team ahead, and Ragland scored twice followed by a three-pointer from Baron to make it a double-digit lead. Michael Ojo made a quick impact from the bench with consecutive baskets and it was 31-14 after 10 minutes. A similar story continued in the second quarter as Brescia's shooting woes ensued while Zvezda moved smoothly to 41-18 with a strong close-range finish from Maik Zirbes. Stratos Perperoglou, Baron and Lazic all struck from long distance to extend the lead beyond 30 and further triples by Baron and Lazic made it a remarkable 65-22 scoreline at half-time. Brescia stemmed the flood somewhat after the break, finally scoring its first three-pointer through Allen, and Zvezda's scoring slowed considerably. Brian Sacchetti scored twice early in the final quarter as Brescia got the gap back into the 20s, but the outcome was never in doubt. Aleksa Radanov and Mouhammad Faye scored from deep and Dusan Ristic laid up to take the Zvezda score into triple figures, completing a crushing victory.
Zvezda set three-point shooting record...
Zvezda set a new club record in the 7DAYS EuroCup by netting 15 three-pointers on just 25 attempts (60%), which were shared among no less than nine different players – led by Branko Lazic and Billy Baron with 4 apiece. The disparity in three-point shooting was one of the biggest differences between the teams, with Brescia only making 6 of 29 from beyond the arc (20.7%).
…and a record for assists
A second club record in the competition was established by Zvezda with its total of 29 assists. Backcourt stars Joe Ragland (10) and Baron (8) contributed the majority of those, but Zvezda's team ethic was evident in the fact that seven other players also dished dimes.
…and another for half-time margin
Yet another record for Zvezda was an all-time best in the competition with its halftime margin of 43 points (65-22). The previous highest difference at the break was just 33 points, set by Herbalife Gran Canaria against Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem in February 2016. Zvezda's halftime tally of 65 points was only just behind the all-time highest-scoring first half, recorded by KK Zadar with 66 points against Siauliai in 2010.
In Round 10
Zvezda travels to face a Galatasaray Istanbul, while Brescia has a thrilling conclusion to the regular season with a do-or-die home game against ratiopharm Ulm.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018