Say hello to the first game winner in the history of the ULEB Cup: Krka Novo Mesto! The Slovenians took a tough road game at Darussafaka in Istanbul and eased away in the fourth quarter to a 76-89 victory that will go down in ULEB Cup history. Three big scorers - Jamie Arnold with 29 points, Slavko Duscak with 20 and Mortan Bader with 17 - did almost all the damange for the visitors. Acie Earl had 24 points and a game-high 9 rebounds for Darussafaka. The three-point shot did the job for Krka, who is now 1-0 in Group C. The visitors looked like they had been practicing in Darussafaka's gym as they landed 13 of 21 jumpers from behind the arc. And get this: Bader, all 2.12 meters of him, had the hottest hand, going 5-for-5 on threes. Duscak hit 3 of 5 and Boris Gnjidic 2 of 3. Darussafaka made less than half the three-pointers of Krka, hitting just 6 of 16.
Darussafaka can say it was the first team to hit a basket in the new competition, as Earl took that honor in the starting seconds of the match at Darussafaka's Ayhan Sahenk Sports Hall. In the first period, Darussafaka led based on with Earl's insider work while Krka stayed close with outside shots from Gnjidic. But Bader, the 22-year-old Krka center, soon entered the game and turned it to the Slovenians' side. Krka finished the first quarter ahead 20-21. In the second, Bader's straight and surprising threes put Krka ahead, while a final one of the half by Duscak let the visitors hit the lockerroom ahead 40-46.
In the third period, Krka played better defense than Darussafaka while maintaining its own offensive pace. The man of the match, Bader, hit another three to give Krka its first big lead, 41-51, early in the half. Than it was a cat-and-mouse game for quite awhile. Darussafaka tried to catch Krka and sometimes reduced the differance to 3 or 4 points. But that was all. Krka led after three quarters 64-70 and pulled slowly away to its biggest lead at the end, 76-89, for an early share of the Group C lead.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002