With only three weeks remaining in the 2012-13 Adriatic League, the battle for the four playoff spots is now down to just six teams and two spots, as the top two have already been booked.
Radnicki’s 78:63 win over Buducnost VOLI on Saturday split the two from a tie in the No. 3 spot, keeping Radnicki within two games of the top spot, but dropping Buducnost three away from Red Star and either three or four from Igokea depending on their result against Szolnoki Olaj on Monday. Buducnost is nine points up on Red Star in a tie break, and the clubs have one more game to play (Week 25, Mar.16th). Red Star wins a tie break with Partizan, so can finish no lower than fourth.
Should Igokea beat Szolnoki on Monday, there’s no question that they’ll be in, but should they lose, they have the same potential tie breakers with Buducnost and Partizan. Igokea and Buducnost split their two matches, but Igokea wins on point differential by six. Igokea is scheduled for a road contest against Partizan next week (Week 24, March 10th), with Igokea holding a 23-point advantage in differential (73:50). With the tie-break win over Buducnost, Igokea can finish no lower than fourth if they lose on Monday, if they win, the worse they can do is third, either way, they will advance to the quarterfinals. Igokea also wins the tie-break with Red Star having one both contests, 75:76 on the road and 80:77 at home.
The others still in the hunt are Union Olimpija at 13-10, Cedevita at 12-10 with a game against Partizan on Sunday, MZT Skopje Aerodrom at 12-11. The last six clubs: Krka, Cibona, Split, Siroki WWin, Zadar, and Szolnoki Olaj, have more than 14 losses and have no chance at getting a top four spot.
Radnički – Budućnost VOLI, 78:63
Radnicki took a huge step towards moving on to the quarterfinal round when they hosted Buducnost VOLI and came out with a big 78:63 victory. The win moved Radnicki to third place behind Igokea and Red Star, with a 15-8 record. The loss drops Buducnost to fourth place at 14-9, potentially tied with Partizan, depending on their game with Cedevita on Sunday.
The clubs fought to a 10-all tie mid-way into the first quarter, before Radnicki went on an 8:2 run to open a six-point margin. Buducnost was able to close it to two-points, but the hosts took a four-point margin into the second quarter.
The guests got the first five of the second frame to take the lead, only to lose it again when Radnicki exploded for 14 unanswered to get up 39:26. Buducnost pulled to within 10 at the break, 42:32.
Again Buducnost came out hard at the beginning of a quarter, this time dropping in six unanswered to get back to within four, 42:38. Once again the home club set the cords on fire, connecting on shots from all over the court and going on a 20:4 run that closed out the scoring in the third quarter with Radnicki up 20, 62:42.
The first seven points of the final frame went up on the guests’ side, which cut the margin to 13, 62:49, but that’s as close as Buducnost would get as Radnicki cruised to the No. 3 spot and one step closer to advancement.
Aleksandar Capin led Radnicki with 23 points, and Terrico White added 20.
Buducnost VOLI got 18 from Cedomir Vitkovac and 12 from Aleksa Popovic.
Crvena zvezda Telekom – Cibona, 97:95
Red Star avoided what would have been a monumental home upset at the hands of Cibona, when they had to come from behind to beat the Croatian club, 97:95 on Saturday. The win assures Red Star of advancement to the semifinals along with Igokea. Cibona has been eliminated from advancing.
The first quarter consisted of a series of lead changes as the clubs found their range early and combined for a total of 52 points. De Marcus Nelson hit a jumper at the buzzer to split up a knotted score and giving the hosts a 27:25 advantage. The guests went on a 2:10 scoring run mid-way through the frame to take the lead for the moment, but the rest of the half would be spent exchanging baskets and the lead, with Cibona holding on as the buzzer sounded to end the first half, 47:49. The guests used a four-point advantage in the third, to head into the final 10 up 68:73. Cibona scored first to extend their lead to seven, but shortly after Igor Rakocevic dropped in a triple and was fouled on the shot. He sank the freebie to complete the four-point play and get Red Star to within three. 74:77. After Darryle Strawberry netted a jumper for two of his game-high 31 for Cibona to put the score at 79:83, Red Star ran off eight straight to take a five-point advantage, 88:83. Strawberry accounted for the last 16 points that Cibona put on the board and kept the guests in the game until the end. He and exchanged buckets with the Red Star contingent for the last three minutes, getting his club up 94:95 with seconds remaining. The hosts took a time out to plot a strategy, and when they brought the ball back in, Marko Simonovic nailed a triple to put Red Star up 97:95. Cibona stopped the clock to gather and plan how to get Strawberry open to either tie with a deuce or win with a three-ball. As play unfolded, Strawberry got the ball and open shot, only this time he came up empty, giving the 4,000 that packed into the Pionir plenty to celebrate as the win meant they’d be in the Adriatic League final four.
Rakocevic led Crvena Zvezda with 21 points and 9 assists, Nelson added 17 points and 5 assists, Rasko Katic picked up 16 points on the night, and Simonovic dropped in 15.
Strawberry’s 31 lead all scorers, shooting 11 of 13 from inside the arc, 1 of 2 outside it and 6 of 9 at the charity stripe. His performance earned him an evaluation of 35. Jerel Blassingame contributed 13 points and 9 assists, and Davor Kus scored 10 points and dished off 3 assists.
Split – Široki WWin, 88:83
In a game that had no playoff implications as both clubs have been eliminated from advancing, Split needed an extra five to put away their visitors, Siroki WWin, 88:83.
Siroki had fallen behind by as much as 13 in the second quarter, only to fight back to knot the score at 38 at the break. As the second half started, Split got out to a quick seven-point advantage, but the guests reeled that lead in as well and tied things up at 56 heading into the final 10. It was Siroki that was able to build a lead in the fourth, getting up by as much as seven, but spending the better part of the frame with the lead. The hosts drew even at 68 with two minutes to play, but Siroki connected on the bulk of their free throws down the stretch, with the exception of the one that would have put them up by four with 8 seconds to play. On the next trip down the floor, Bruno Markulin connected on a triple to again bring the scoreboard to even, this time at 73. Marko Sutalo was able to get a shot off before the buzzer, but came up empty, sending the game into overtime. Karlo Vragovic drew first blood for Siroki, dropping in a deuce, but then Split ran off seven unanswered to get up 81:75. Down the stretch the hosts connected on 7 of 8 charity tosses to counter anything that Siroki put through the cords, and coming up with the 88:83 victory.
Srdan Subotic and Nikola Vujcic led the way for Split with 18 points each. Subotic also added 11 assists and Vujcic hauled in 6 rebounds during the contest. Ivan Mimica added 14 points and Ivan Siriscevic dropped in 11.
Siroki got 15 from Vragovic, 14 from Ivan Ramljak along with 4 steals, and 13 each from Sutalo and Boris Barac.
MZT Skopje Aerodrom – Zadar, 94:69
Union Olimpija – Krka, 76:63
This Week’s Adriatic League Matches
|Mar. 1, 2013||KK Union Olimpija – KK Krka||76 - 63|
|Mar. 2, 2013||KK Crvena zvezda Telekom – KK Cibona||97 - 95|
|Mar. 2, 2013||KK Split – KK Široki WWin||88 - 83|
|Mar. 2, 2013||KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom – KK Zadar||94 - 69|
|Mar. 2, 2013||KK Radnički – KK Budućnost VOLI||78 - 63|
|Mar. 3, 2013||KK Cedevita – KK Partizan mt:s||76 - 77|
|Mar. 4, 2013||KK Igokea – BC Szolnoki Olaj||86 - 84|
Adriatic League Standings
|2||•||KK Crvena zvezda Telekom||26||18||8||2097:1889||208||62|
|4||•||KK Partizan mt:s||26||16||10||1905:1832||73||59|
|5||•||KK Budućnost VOLI||26||16||10||1864:1774||90||58|
|7||•||KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom||26||14||12||1933:1931||2||54|
|8||•||KK Union Olimpija||26||13||13||1984:1976||8||52|
|10||•||KK Široki WWin||26||9||17||1940:1996||-56||44|
|12||•||BC Szolnoki Olaj||26||9||17||1878:2085||-207||44|
Next Week’s Adriatic League Matches
|Mar. 9, 2013||KK Zadar – KK Radnički|
|Mar. 9, 2013||KK Budućnost VOLI – KK Split|
|Mar. 10, 2013||KK Cibona – KK Union Olimpija|
|Mar. 10, 2013||KK Partizan mt:s – KK Igokea|
|Mar. 10, 2013||BC Szolnoki Olaj – KK MZT Skopje Aerodrom|
|Mar. 11, 2013||KK Krka – KK Cedevita|
|Mar. 11, 2013||KK Široki WWin – KK Crvena zvezda Telekom|