The final game of Round 15 of Adriatic League basketball action was a clash between two of the league’s titans. Top-ranked KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (Montenegro) took down defending champions, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (Serbia) 68-54. In the case of this round, the best was truly saved for last. Buducnost holds a league-best 13-2 record. The loss was the fourth for Crvena Zvezda and it also halted the four-game winning streak they were able to string together.
The game was of particular note, because it could possibly be a preview to the league championship, which of course is still many weeks away. Both teams have showed they should be taken seriously and are true contenders for the gold. In this game, it was the league leaders that proved to be more resilient in the light of facing stiff competition.
The hosts were quick to defend their home court and surged to a convincing 28-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Crvena Zvezda was uncharacteristically lost in the early going. They normally get off to hot starts and ride their momentum from there. This time, it was the white shirts that forced their opponents into backpedaling. Red Star did manage to gather themselves in the second frame and even outscored Buducnost 10-18. The second half of the game was all Buducnost and the men in the red and white jerseys could not seize the lead nor the initiative in the game.
It was the tandem of Tadija Dragicevic and Aleksandar Maric that did the most damage during the game, each posting double-double lines. Dragicevic finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Maric added 16 points and 10 boards of his own. Maric did most of his work from close range while Dragicevic was able to score from all over the court. He nailed 3-of-5 shots from three-point range and also got to the foul line a couple of times as well. Red Star committed a total of 24 fouls in this game and Buducnost was able to capitalize on it at the charity stripe.
Marko Guduric was the top performer for Crvena Zvezda with 20 points, three assists and three steals.
This was a bump in the road for Red Star and while it is a bitter pill to swallow they should be able to come back strong in their next game which will be against KK Zadar. For now, Buducnost is definitely the top dog of the league and the burden rests on the rest of the top teams to figure out how to defeat if not at least slow them down.