Crvena Zvezda Diva Belgrade came out on top against Dinamo Banca di Sardegna Sassari 116-104 in an offensive showdown in packed Pionir arena on Wednesday, which also featured a pair of Eurocup records. Sassari playmaker Travis Diener set a record with 15 assists, while Crvena Zvezda set a new mark with 38 two-pointers made. Zvezda kept its perfect Group H record intact after surviving the highest scoring game of the season with 26 three-pointers - 18 of which came from the visiting team. Team captain Igor Rakocevic led the brilliant offensive effort with 28 points and 7 assists. Elton Brown had 22 points plus 7 rebounds, Rasko Katic and Bojan Subotic each scored 11 and DeMarcus Nelson chipped in with 10. Bootsy Thornton scored 22 of his 33 points in the first half and finished the game hitting 7 of 8 shots from the 6.75 arc. Tony Easley scored 19, Michal Ignerski netted 17, Drake Diener had 14 points and Travis Diener 13 points in addition to his 15 assists.
High-tempo style offenses dominated from the start of the game. After Ignerski opened the encounter with a three-pointer, Rakocevic, Nelson and Rasko Katic strung together 6 straight points for the hosts. Thornton hit his first triple to tie the game at 10-10, but Mike Scott made a basket-plus-foul and Boris Savovic hit a wide-open three for Zvezda on the way to a 20-13 lead after exactly five minutes. The visitors quickly responded, Travis Diener sunk a shot from downtown and Thornton scored 7 points in a row, including another triple to cut it to 24-23. Just as it seemed the defenses started to come together, Ignerski and Mauro Pinton sunk fifth and sixth Sassari triples in the quarter, while Thornton hit all three-free throws to make it 31-33 after 10 minutes. Zvezda was quick to regain the lead. With three straight layups from Brown and converting on the first five possessions of the second quarter, the hosts went up 41-33. Even though Brown, Rakocevic and Marko Simonovic kept Zvezda going, the visitors had the same old recipe to come back – hitting triples. Sassari made four shots from downtown in less than three minutes - Ignerski hit the first one then Thornton hit three in row on four possessions – and the visitors were in front again, 53-54. However, Rakocevic scored a jumper and a driving layup giving zvezda 57-54 halftime advantage.
Scott had an easy layup to open the scoring in the third quarter, but a dunk from Easley and two easy layups from Drake Diener helped Sassari cut the deficit to 63-62. Zvezda pulled away with a triple from Bojan Subotic and a reverse layup-plus-foul from Rakocevic. The hosts tried with a zone defense, but changed back to man-to-man after back-to-back three-pointers from Travis and Drake Diener, however Rakocevic answered with a triple and Branko Lazic hit one from downtown as well to give the hosts their first double-digit lead, 82-71. Drake Diener sunk another three to silence the crowd, but only briefly as Rakocevic, Katic and Nelson gave Zvezda a 90-78 advantage going into the final 10 minutes. Sassari scored more triples beginning of the fourth quarter, one from Travis Diener and one from Ignerski, but Brand was unstoppable inside while Aleksandar Cvetkovic hit back-to-back three-pointers to make it 100-88 after 33 minutes. Rakocevic and Brown extended the lead to 16 points, but Easley, Thornton and Drake Diener kept Sassari’s hopes alive with 0-8 run. Instead, Lazic hit a triple and Rakocevic made a jumper to seal the deal. Before the final buzzer, Thornton managed to sink a couple more shots from downtown, bringing his total to 7 triples on 8 attempts, while Savovic hit a three on the final possession to round out the highest-scoring game in the Eurocup this season.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012