By Stefan Djordjevic/ [email protected]
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade bounced back from two straight losses in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by edging Real Madrid 79-77 on the road in Round 19.
Corey Walden was pushing Zvezda throughout the first half (45-40) as he led all the scorers with 16 points but the crucial 10-0 run for the Serbian team happened at the end of the third and the start of the fourth quarter.
They went from 60-58 to 70-68 with a run that was sparked by Ognjen Dobric who hit a timely three-pointer. More impressive than the numbers was Zvezda’s complete control on the court, especially defensively as Real Madrid couldn’t score – nor create a good look – for the first four minutes of the final period.
Dobric had only one thing on his mind: “My first thought was to give great energy to the team. That’s what we need, to show a different face from our last game. I would like to congratulate our guys and our team for a great win. It’s a great thing to win here. It’s very difficult.”
Pablo Laso’s timeout fired up the Spaniards who showed a comeback effort with a few threes. After the unsportsmanlike foul by Branko Lazic on Rudy Fernandez who suffered a nasty fall, hurt his back and exited the court, Real cut the gap to 76-73.
However, whenever the ‘Whites’ got close, Zvezda’s backcourt found some important shots and that, along with the defensive effort, kept the Serbian team afloat for the win. Jaycee Carroll had a shot to force overtime but fell short.
Walden finished with 18 points while Dobric scored 13 and Duop Reath ten points.
For the Madridistas, Fernandez had 11 points followed by Nicolas Laprovittola, Gabriel Deck, Trey Thompkins, Jeffery Taylor with ten each. Laprovittola also dished ten assists.
Crvena Zvezda improved to 7-13 while Real Madrid now holds a 13-7 record, as they suffer only their second loss in the last nine EuroLeague games.
“First of all, congratulations to my players for a good game. For us, what was most important today was to play much better than in the last game. We played really well tonight. It was important to continue after doing quite well in the first half. We did a good job in the second half, too, especially at the beginning, which was important. We controlled the situation and in the end, we made some mistakes, letting them get two offensive rebounds, and it was a tight game. But for us, for sure, for our confidence, it was a very important win,” coach Dejan Radonjic said.
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