Just when his team needed a boost in the fourth quarter, Nikola Ivanovic was there to carry Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to a season-opening victory in the 7DAYS EuroCup. Ivanovic neared his career-high as he poured in 24 points in a 93-81 home win over Germani Brescia to open the action in Group B. The 26-year-old Podgorica native, who has been playing with Buducnost since 2011, came off the bench and connected on 12-of-13 free throws while also picking up 2 rebounds, 5 assists and 11 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 31.
The game with Brescia was deadlocked at 65-65 after three quarters and Buducnost had slowed down the Brescia offense. But the home team could not produce much on the offensive end and the scoreboard showed 67-65 when Ivanovic took the floor 2 minutes into the fourth quarter. He quickly gave his team the spark it needed to take control.
Ivanovic drained a three-pointer and followed that on the next possession with a driving layup. The next trip down the court, Buducnost twice grabbed offensive rebounds and Ivanovic knocked down a second triple for a 75-67 gap. His next basket made it 79-67 with a little more than 3 minutes to play and he iced the game with 4 free throws in the final 35 seconds.
Ivanovic’s 24 points were 3 points shy of the 27 he scored against FC Bayern Munich on December 19, 2017, when he also picked up his career-best index rating of 39. The 26-year-old guard is already playing in his eighth EuroCup campaign - to go along with the 2018-19 season in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Over the years he has learned well how to step up for Buducnost when it needs help - like the team did in its season opener.