Crvena Zvezda stayed undefeated in Group F by downing Cholet Basket 82-66 in Belgrade, Serbia on Tuesday night. Zvezda improved to 3-0 and will make it to the Last 16 if it downs Cholet on the road next week. On the other hand, Cholet dropped to 1-2, is third in Group F and needs to beat Zvezda next week to rejoin the Last 16 race. Vladimir Stimac and Tadija Dragicevic paced the winners each with 18 points. Vuk Radivojevic and Elmedin Kikanovic each added 12 for Zvezda. Fabien Causeur led Cholet with 14 points. Mickeal Gelabale added 12 while Sammy Mejia and Kevin Seraphin each had 10 for the guests. Seraphin and Causeur shined early in the game and a buzzer-beating running three-pointer by Jamaal Tatum gave Cholet a 22-25 edge after 10 minutes. A layup-plus-foul by Gelabale allowed the guests to stay ahead, 35-38, at halftime. A driving basket by Arvydas Eitutavicius allowed Cholet to tie the game for the last time, 52-52. Stimac and Dragicevic fueled a 9-0 run that put Zvezda ahead for good, 61-52. Cholet managed to get as close as 61-60 but Boris Bakic and Kikanovic allowed Zvezda to seal the outcome minutes before the final buzzer.
Antywane Robinson got Cholet going with a quick basket that Kikanovic matched with a four-meter jumper. Causeur scored in transition but Filip Videnov tied it at 4-4, as Zvezda tried to speed up the game tempo. Seraphin sank a jump hook that Radivojevic erased with a driving layup. Seraphin scored again and a three-point play by Causeur gave Cholet a 8-11 edge. Kikanovic kept pacing Zvezda with a layup and free throws by Marko Keselj kept the hosts as close as 12-13. Seraphin scored twice in the pain a three-point play by Stimac and a triple by Bakic gave Zvezda its first lead, 19-17. Stimac shined with a big basket in the low post that Causeur bettered with a layup-plus-foul. An easy dunk by Seraphin and a wild buzzer-beating triple by Tatum gave Cholet a 22-25 edge after 10 minutes. Mike Taylor sank a baseline jumper early in the second quarter, as Cholet went scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Meanwhile, a layup by Stimac and another basket by Taylor put Zvezda back ahead, 28-26. Randal Falker rescued Cholet with a layup and a tip-in. An off-balance jumper by Mejia and a three-point play by Gelabale gave the guests some fresh air, 28-35, after a 0-9 run. Nemanja Bjelica stepped up with a tip-in, igniting a 7-0 run that Videnov capped with a triple to tie it at 35-35. A three-point play by Gelabale fixed the halftime score at 35-38.
Gelabale and Bjelica traded layups immediately after the break, as Cholet kept struggling to score. A put-back basket by Kikanovic and a layup by Radivojevic allowed Zvezda to regain the lead, 41-40. Gelabale took over with a wild driving layup and a fallaway jumper but Radivojevic kept Zvezda as close as 43-45. Causeur and a red hot Radivojevic traded free throws but a seven-meter bomb by Dragicevic provided another lead change, 48-47. Mejia shined with a driving basket that Stimac improved with a layup-plus-foul, good for a 51-50 Zvezda edge. Eitutavicius scored in penetration but Dragicevic struck from downtown, Stimac followed a fast break layup with free throws and Radivojevic beat the buzzer to make it a nine-point game, 61-52, after 30 minutes. Mejia stepped up with a three-point play early in the fourth quarter and Robinson added a triple to bring Cholet back to life at 61-58. Causeur capped a 0-8 run with a driving basket, as Stimac scored down low for a 63-60 score. Bakic downed his second three-pointer and soon added a driving layup for a 68-62 Zvezda lead with 6 minutes to go. Falker tried to change things with a fast break dunk but Dragicevic answered from downtown to keep the hosts out of trouble, 71-64. Kikanovic followed foul shots with a backdoor layup to seal the outcome, 75-66, with less than 2 minutes left. Cholet did not give up but all Zvezda fans were already celebrating that their team stayed undefeated after 3 regular season games.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009