Buducnost Voli rallied for a tough overtime victory on Tuesday to stay in second place in Group H. The Montenegrin champs trailed Dexia Mons-Hainaut by 10 with five minutes left, but Bojan Krstovic helped the team climb back, force overtime and race to an important win, 85-78. Buducnost improved to 2-2 and is tied for second place in Group H and out of first place by just one victory. Nikola Vucevic paced the winners with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Krstovic added 18 points and Cedomir Vitkovac scored 11. AJ Slaughter scored 23 off the bench for Mons, which dropped to 1-3. Ronell Taylor added 14 points and Ahmad Nivens posted 12 points and 9 rebounds in defeat.
The game started slowly with the teams trading scores in the first few minutes. Mons heated up first with a layup and triple from Warren Carter and a pair of Justin Cage baskets for a 5-13 lead. Vujevic narrowed the gap to 4, but a Sebastien Bellin three-pointer and a jumper by Slaughter put the guests in the drivers’ seat at 9-18 through 10 minutes. Slaughter extended the lead to double figures from the line at the start of the second quarter. Buducnost busted out of a slump with an Aleksa Popovic triple and soon Milan Milosevic had the hosts within 17-22. The momentum swung back Mons’s way as Shan Foster and Slaughter drilled back-to-back triples and Nivens converted a three-point play. After Alexandre Libert added a free throw, a 0-10 Mons run made it a 15-point game. Vucevic and Vitkovac kept the hosts alive before Krstovic nailed a triple to narrow the gap to 27-36 at the break.
A steal and slam from Taylor pumped the Mons cushion to 29-42 three minutes into the second half. But the visitors had no answer for Vucevic or Krstovic. A Mons scoring drought allowed Vucevic to carry Buducnost within 42-46 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Foster hit back from downtown, Nivens added a basket on the offensive glass and despite 2 more Vucevic points from the line, Slaughter beat the third-quarter buzzer for a 47-57 edge. Slaughter lifted the lead to 12 early in the fourth quarter and Taylor kept Mons ahead by double figures, 53-63, with 10 minutes to go. Krstovic ignited the Buducnost comeback with a triple and Vucevic scored inside. Free throws by Krstovic and Vitkovac made it a one-possession game and Krstovic leveled the score at 65-65 with a clutch triple with two minutes left. Nivens’s basket was matched by Jermaine Anderson free throws. Marko Popovic gave Buducnost its first lead since the opening minutes with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds remaining. However Slaughter came through at the line to tie the game at 69-69 and force overtime.
Back-to-back threes from Krstovic and Vitkovac helped the hosts to a promising 77-71 lead after two minutes of the extra session. Vucevic scored next as the Buducnost faithful let their approval be heard. Slaughter rallied Mons back with the next 5 points to put 79-76 on the scoreboard with 96 seconds to play. But after Vitkovac and Nivens split free throws, Marko Popovic drilled a clutch triple with 46 seconds left and Cage missed twice from the line for Mons. Anderson sank 2 free throws with 32 seconds left to put the hosts up 8 and essentially seal a tough win.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011