Defense lifts Partizan to another home win
Partizan NIS Belgrade grabbed another home win by beating Darussafaka Tefken Istanbul 69-57 at a sold-out Aleksandar Nikolic Hall on Wednesday night. The hosts improved to 3-1 to remain atop Group E of the 7Days EuroCup alongside Segafredo Virtus Bologna, while the visitors dropped to 2-2 to stay third. Partizan used strong starts in the second and the fourth quarters to take the lead first and make it a 20-point game later to seal the outcome. Ognen Jaramaz led the winners with 15 points, followed by Novica Velickovic and Nemanja Gordic with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jonathan Hamilton posted 17 points and 9 boards and Bonzie Colson contributed 10 points on the losing side.
Velickovic and Hamilton were the only ones able to score for their respective teams in the early going. A turnaround jumper and a triple by the former and two inside buckets and a powerful dunk by the latter set a 5-6 lead for the visitors midway through the first quarter. Sinan Guler and Gary Browne took over with back-to-back threes to extend it to 9-14, but Partizan found a weapon in Uros Trifunovic to reduce the margin to 16-17 after 10 minutes. Two powerful dunks by William Mosley sparked a fire for Partizan as the hosts outscored Darusafaka 14-0 behind 7 points from Nemanja Gordic in 5 minutes to turn the game upside down and make it 30-17. Hamilton ended the drought with a basket on the offensive glass, but the unbelievable defensive effort by the hosts held Darussafaka scoreless for another 3 minutes to maintain a safe lead, 35-25, at halftime.
Jaramaz came up big after the break with 5 straight points to extend the margin to 40-25. Even though Hamilton tried to hold his team up, he found no help from any of his teammates, which allowed Partizan to keep a double-digit margin, 43-29. The visitors didn’t surrender, though, and used the same weapon than its opponents did, defense, to stay alive. Free throws by Hamilton and Kartal Ozmizrak made it 43-36, and a three-pointer by Bonzie Colson trimmed the margin even more. The game then turned into a free-throw exchange that closed the third period with Partizan in front, 49-43. Gordic came to the rescue from behind the arc and Rade Zagorac followed him with a fastbreak three-point play to bring a double-digit lead back to Partizan at 55-43 and it looked like the beginning of the end for the visitors. With Darussafaka unable to score for the first 6 minutes of the last quarter, Jaramaz dropped another bomb and added 3 more points from the line, right before Velickovic capped a 14-0 run that made it a 20-point game, 63-43, and removed all doubts about the name of the winner.
After trailing 16-17 at the end of the first quarter, Partizan used a 14-0 run at the beginning of the second to take charge. And later, when Darussafaka bounced back and came within 49-43 entering the last period, another 14-0 run finished the game.
Partizan displayed an incredible defensive effort for the entire game, but it was even more remarkable during those runs. It held Darussafaka scoreless for the first 5:22 minutes in the second quarter and for the first 6:18 in the last.
Partizan takes the tie breaker
Even though Darussafaka reacted in the last minutes of the game, Partizan found no trouble to keep a safe margin and take the tiebreaker, as it only lost by 2 points in the previous round in Istanbul.
In Round 5 next week, both teams will travel to Italy. Partizan NIS Belgrade will face Segafredo Virtus Bologna at the Paladozza on Tuesday, February 4. Darussafaka Tefken Istanbul will play against Dolomiti Energia Trento at the BLM Group Arena the same day.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020