Crvena Zvezda Belgrade wins Serbian League

Crvena Zvezda BelgradeCrvena Zvezda Belgrade once again sits atop Serbian Basketball after downing arch-rival Partizan Belgrade 58-54 in Game 3 of the finals series. Red Star picked up the win at home and ensured a sweep of the championship series 3-0 to win its first title in the new Serbian basketball League format (2006-present).

During that time Partizan Belgrade has dominated top flight hoops in the country with eight consecutive titles, but Crvena Zvezda Belgrade is once again the champion. The club has now won 16 league titles including when the league was held in the old Yugoslavia, while Partizan is still the winningest club with 21 league crowns to its name.

7,000 people watched the spectacle unfold at Pionir Hall as both Belgrade giants traded buckets through the first quarter until Crvena Zvezda enticed the roar of the crowd to lead 18-17 at the first break. Partizan opened the scoring in the second period and a small 0-5 run allowed the visitors to open a lead that was extended to 28-37 as the halftime buzzer sounded. Partizan looked in control, but the guests slipped in the third frame as Crvena Zvezda Belgrade slowly crept back into contention. The hosts looked much better at both ends of the hardwood and an 18-7 run in the third quarter was enough to wrestle back the lead, 46-44 through thirty minutes. The scoring slowed further in the fourth act, allowing Red Star to dictate the pace of play and ease to a title-winning victory.

It was a low scoring game and neither team had an array of players in double digits. Leading the pack for Crvena Zvezda were Luka Mitrovic and Branko Lazic with 13 points apiece, while Maik Zerbes notched 9 points and 11 rebounds.

Nikola Milutinov was the only player to break ten points in the losing effort, his 17 points and 8 boards keeping Partizan in the contest at times.

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