ABA League action is in full swing now and some familiar teams are occupying the top spots in the standings. So far, there is only one team remaining that sports a spotless record and that distinction belongs to Serbian powerhouse Crvena Zvezda Telekom Beograd (9-0). They took to the road in Round 9 and handily dispatched of KK Cibona at Zagreb, Croatia 70-91. “Red Star” is currently on pace to match their impressive run over the last couple of seasons. They now hold the solo lead in the ABA after their Montenegrin rivals KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica (8-1) suffered a surprising 77-71 upset loss at the hands of cellar dwelling Karpos Sokoli (1-8). Rounding out the league’s Top 5 teams are KK Cedevita Zagreb, BC Partizan NiS Beograd, and KK Cibona ViP Zagreb; all sporting identical 6-3 slates.
There was not much fanfare in Crvena Zvezda’s win. The home crowd was stunned silent as they watched their club get trampled under the aggressive, balanced attack by their guests. Crvena Zvezda opened the game with a five-point advantage at the end of the first quarter, 18-23.
Red Star would blow the game wide open in the second frame and set themselves up with a 20-point lead at the half. Despite Crvena Zvezda being known for their up-tempo offense, in this game it was their impressive defense that allowed them to have a stranglehold on the game. The Serbian squad had 17 steals in this game, compared to just five for Cibona. The tight defense was easily converted to transition baskets and that is where they were able to capitalize. Cibona was easily outmatched by Red Star in this one and the league leaders were not threatened at any point in the game.
Three Red Star players would share the honor of leading the team in scoring in this game. Stefan Jovic, Milko Bjelica, and Nate Wolters each posted 14 points for the red-and-white shirts. Ante Zizic and Marin Rozic would pace Cibona with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Here are the other results for Round 9 of the ABA League 2016-17 regular season:
Krka Novo Mesto vs. MZT Skopje Aerodrom, 97-87
Mornar Bar vs. KK Zadar, 104-110
Union Olimpija vs. FMP Beograd, 89-85
Karpos Sokol vs. KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica, 77-71
BC Partizan NiS Beograd vs. KK Cedevita Zagreb, 87-97
BC Igokea vs. Mega Leks, 64-67