We started so well.
Like this. Edo Murić comes, sees and destroys, the Turkish presenter is gasping for breath.
Before this Mačvan welcomed the foreign guests, so much that the first 6 points are scored by him. What is more, after Murić’s basket he easily blocked the opponent players that were clogging together under Partizan’s ring and passed the ball for a counter-attack. Murić thanked and scored (10:13). And if he was there, he reduced the difference to 1 point with another throw. The opponent attacked, Milutinović bravely threw himself in front of the Turkish player. Here the reaction was just a throw-in, but then Gagić was fouled (today he was seriously hated by the referees), free throw, and score (12:17). Murić again tried to reduce the difference (14:17), then at 14:19 he was elbowed down on the floor by an opponent player. No free throw, just timeout, by Duško Vujošević.
Gagić was fouled again (offensive foul, perhaps because variety is delighting), then Murić performed a great block. Then someone fouled Gagić (this was exceptional), the center was brutally knocked down, then at the end of the quarter Mačvan scored and minimized the difference (18:19).
The second quarter started with two free throws, one here, one there (20:22), then Andrić made a wonderful 3-pointer. (23:25).
Our defense line worked great. Sometimes three of our players attacked the opponent under then ring and were hanging on his neck mercilessly, until the other gave it up disappointed, gasping for breath. Gagić, Tepić, Murić, Milutinov all took part in it.
Then Partizan equalized, by Gagić. It was 28:28.
It even looked smooth. Well, at least a bit. It was still crackling, but something started to get into shape. The team played with courage. The defense made a sandwich of Turkish players (ie. 1 Turkish player between 2 Partizan-players) who had pain while trying to pass the ball through the ring. Sometimes they just tried. And there was always Gagić there who equalized (30:30). Banvit tried with a layup, Bezbradica replied (32:32). Then Andrić scored another 3-pointer (35:36), Average Fan started to play with the very secret thought that maybe the young small forward could follow the footsteps of 3-pointer specialist Bertans. Meanwhile Mačvan had all opponent players hanging on his neck, but the referee didn’t whistle. Turks made a turnover, but failed, Partizan made a turnover, failed, turnover, fail... and Tepić fell on the floor. And HE was fouled.
No, referees clearly didn’t like us tonight.
But karma was still a bitch. Dallo came up dribbling, a Banvit player made a turnover and - he dropped the ball on his own foot. Meanwhile the standing was 35:42. Andrić scored from free throw, the team got the grip, they were running, blocking and when the opponent wanted to make the usual throw-in after 39:44, Mačvan, Dallo and Tepić together made such a foul-court press that Average Fan dropped the jaw on the floor. The problem was that the referee was in a bad mood (and that made me having a bad mood...). At the end of the first half there was mostly wrestling, the half time result was 39:48.
The third quarter started even better. Murić and Tepić reduced the difference (43:48), plus the opponent missed a lot of chances. There was still a lot of wrestling, lots of faults, while Partizan brought their well-known "zone" defense. It was great to see, really... It confused the Turks (meanwhile Partizan’s former captain Goran Grbović appeared on the screen for a moment), but then Milutinov was fouled out. Đoko Šalić joined as his substitute.
The pace didn’t slow down, the two teams were only wrestling for long. Then Tepić made it to 45:48 after a great turnover.
Then somehow sand got into the machinery. Banvit sped up, it was 45:58. Our defense still worked, but the referees liked us less and less, second by second. All movements of Partizan players were fouls. Murić, Dallo, Andrić all got personal fouls. Old mistakes came up, we missed chances and Turks punished us mercilessly. Mačvan broke the silence (47:58), but the difference was still a double digit. Andrić scored another 3-pointer, that was the last basket of the quarter (50:62).
It didn’t have a happy start. Fouls came in a row, Turks made a 10-point series. Marinković made a movement from our side, with a marvellous 3-pointer (53:70). Yet the team lost the pace. The opponent just scored and scored (53:74), the difference was more than 20 points, when Andrić threw a basket after great teamwork (55:74). At the end Šalić also scored (57:77), then Murić had a free throw, and at the end Marinković made the final throw after a great turnover (61:77).
The fans... well, they celebrated as if it was a championship winning.
Banvitspor: Veyseloglu (2), Rowland (11), Gecim, Candan (9), Edge, Davis (6), Mejia (13), Veremenko (2), Simmons (10), Dragičević (20), Mutaf (4), Özer
(unmarked photos: Facebook/KK Partizan)