Two games closed out Round 18 Adriatic League action and the fans watching were treated to some fantastic basketball on January 4th. KK Cedevita Zagreb dug deep and came up with a huge rally in the fourth quarter to come up with the 79-80 road win over Serbian powerhouse Crvena Zvezda “Red Star” Telekom Beograd. This ended a two-game win streak put together by Red Star, which falls to 13-5, but still manages to retain their third-place position in the league standings. Cedevita’s win over their tough competition keeps them just one win behind league-leading Buducnost. The club from Zagreb has lost just three times in 18 games this season.
Jacob Pullen came up big for Cedevita in this game. He caught fire from downtown, making 4-of-7 shots from long range, en route to his game-high 24 points. Red Star could not contain him and Pullen was fouled several times. He made 6-of-9 shots from the free throw line as well. Miro Bilan added 19 points on some efficient shooting of his own. He made 8-of-9 shots from the field.
The game was exciting from the point of view that both teams gave it their all and that each had their own moments where they shined. At the end of the day, the game boiled down to massive run put together by Cedevita in the fourth quarter. They came into the final frame down by 11 points, but managed to score on consecutive baskets as Red Star’s defense failed to react in time.
Quincy Miller-Scott played well for Crvena Zvezda. He had a double-double performance, finishing with a team-high 19 points as well as 11 boards. Maik Zirbes added 17 points of his own.
The disappointed Serbian fans in attendance can look to their team to bounce back in the next round as Red Star is set to face 10th ranked Union Olimpija.
The second game was between two struggling teams looking to gain some momentum. Montenegrin club KK Sutjeska Niksic dragged down BC Partizan NiS Beograd with them into the league’s cellar via a solid 82-71 home defense. Both teams share 6-12 records along with BC Igokea. All is not lost for them, but the window of their potential recovery is closing soon. The Adriatic league is highly competitive. The bottom three teams are only two games behind the fifth-to-seventh ranked teams which have 8-10 slates.
Sutjeska led throughout this contest and managed to maintain control of the game for majority of its duration. Partizan managed to win the fourth quarter 17-27, but it was too little and too late, not enough to catch up to huge first-half advantage set up by Sutjeska. Nemanja Vranjes was a beast for Sutjeska with 27 points and 13 rebounds.