Many Adriatic League fans are warming to the prospect of a Partizan Belgrave versus Crvena Zvezda Belgrade finals series. However, the other two clubs left in the competition will have plenty to say about that, and Cedevita Zagreb drew blood in the first game of its semi-final series against Partizan. Reigning champs Crvena Zvezda Belgrade looked in excellent touch as they pushed aside Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
Cedevita Zagreb vs. Partizan Belgrade, 83-76
Cedevita users home advantage to close down Partizan on Saturday, claiming a 1-0 series lead over the Serbian club, which remains the winningest in Adriatic League history with six titles. The hosts were phenomenal through the first half, and started the game with a 25-17 run in the first act. Cedevita built on the advantage with a 29-18 second quarter to claim a 54-35 halftime lead.
However, the high scoring intensity could not be maintained and in the second half Partizan started to fight back. The guests took a 16-24 third act and then made the home fans sweat with a winning fourth. However, Cedevita had too many points in the bank and claimed the win. Partizan was dominated in the first half, allowing the home team to out-rebound them 36-24 overall and turnover the ball 14 times in the game.
John Shurna topped the win with 15 points, followed by Miro Bilan with 13 points. Ryan Boatright and Toni Katic secured 11 points apiece, while Merza Begic claimed 10 rebounds.
William Hatcher was the best attacking player on the floor as he took a game-high 18 points and dished 8 assists for Partizan. Novica Velickovic added 4 points in the losing effort.
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs. Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, 82-67
Reigning double Adriatic League champs Crvena Zvezda Belgrade remains the in-from team in the competition. The EuroLeague competitor swept aside Buducnost at home in game one of the semi-final series and is on course for its third consecutive title. Consistency was the name of the game for the champs, who kept a good balance of defence and attack during the game.
After a 21-17 first quarter, Crvena Zvezda boosted its advantage with a 22-14 second frame that made it 43-31 through the long break. Buducnost never recovered in the game, losing the third act 19-18 and the fourth 20-18 as Crvena Zvezda eased to victory.
Marko Guduric secured 18 points for the winners, while Marko Simonovic grabbed the same amount of points. Ognjen Kuzmic dropped 14 points for Crvena Zvezda.
Owen Klassen scored 13 points for Buducnost, with Nemanja Vranejes adding 11 points.