A memorable individual performance that belongs among the best seen in a historic arena lifted Partizan PMB to its first Group A victory of the season, 87-73 over visiting Olympiacos on Thursday. The crowd at Pionir Arena was treated to a show by Partizan forward Dejan Milojevic, who was practically flawless while posting 35 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 assists for the winners. As a result, Milojevic pulled down an index rating of 55, the best of the season so far and tied for the second-best ever in the Euroleague. The effect of his efforts was that Partizan and Olympiacos are tied with 1-4 records in last place, but just one victory off the pace of three teams tied for fourth place. Helping the cause for Partizan were Uros Tripkovic with 14 points and Vule Avdalovic with 11. The best Olympiacos scorers were Lazaros Agadakis with 16 points, Lavor Postell with 14 and Marque Perry with 10.
Avdalovic came out strong and gave Perry trouble in the opening minutes, scoring 6 points himself as the hosts took a quick 15-8 advantage. Milojevic and Kosta Perovic missed 4 free throws that would have increased the lead, so Olympiacos reacted with 2-12 run that was capped by a triple from Dusan Vukcevic and left the guests in charge, 17-20, after 8 minutes despite the fact that Milojevic was already establishing the inside as his own. Tripkovic and Agadakis traded baskets in the last minute of the period as the Reds stayed on top, 19-22 after 10 minutes.
New Olympiacos shooter Jeff Nordgaard missed a chance to increase his team's advantage to start the the second quarter while Perovic got Partizan going with a pair of fastbreak baskets. Soon Milojevic tied it 23-23 and Nordgaard and Avdalovic traded triples. Tripkovic and Avdalovic brought Partizan a new 30-28 lead, after which Agadakos committed an offensive foul and Milojevic punished it with a basket-plus-foul at the other end. Milan Tomic came on to calm Olympiacos with 2 shots from downtown, but had to trade them with one each from Blake Stepp and Miroslav Bozovic. The Reds wouldn't go away, as Agadakos tied the score again, 41-41, but Milojevic finished the first half strong to put his team ahead, 50-46. He already had 19 points and 8 rebounds at the break.
Perry scored hist first points from the line to begin the second half as Partizan's lead remained stead, at 57-54. That's because Milojevic continued to terrorize the Olympiacos defense with rebounds and points from the paint. He was supported by Avdalovic who sent Perry to the bench one more time. Tripkovic added 4 points in a row before Milojevic stole and dunked for a to send Partizan forward to a 67-60 advantage after three quarters.
Olympiacos began the last quarter playing three guards - Perry, Postell and Ivan Zoroski - but Milojevic punished the visitors with easy points in the paint. Luka Bogdanovic added a fastbreak for Partizan as the lead reached double digits, 71-60, with 8 minutes to go. Perry heated up in the next 2 minutes and thanks to his points Olympiacos made 0-6 mini-run to get within 72-68. At that crucial moment, Perovic took over for a tired Milojevic, scoring 6 points to which Tripkovic added a triple so that Partizan could enter the last minute with an 85-70 lead assuring almost 7,000 fans at Pionir Arena their team's first Euroleague win of the season.
Thursday, December 2, 2004