Over the last couple of seasons, fans of the ABA League have gotten used to seeing Crvena Zvezda “Red Star” mts Beograd go on lengthy, dominant win streaks that span almost the entire regular season. Apparently, someone forgot to give KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica that memo, because that storied history was erased in the blink of an eye with a stunning early-round win over Red Star 81-89.
Adding to the impressiveness of their win over one of the top teams in the league, Buducnost managed to grab the W on the road. Red Star is renowned throughout Europe as having one of the best homecourts around.
Through the years, Buducnost has managed to be a thorn in the side of Crvena Zvezda. They seem to have dialed in on the Serbian club’s number, finding their Achilles at the right times. The result last night was nothing short of a thrilling exchange between two of the ABA’s Titans.
Buducnost found their stroke early and manage to come out ahead 20-26 at the end of the first quarter. As expected, Red Star would find a way to storm back in the second quarter, leaving the game at a near dead-even 42-44.
The second half would see Buducnost mount a 12-4 rally to retake the lead from Red Star and hold a slight, 3-point edge. This was enough to get the ball really rolling for them as they kept the momentum going in the fourth quarter and kept Crvena Zvezda’s game in check long enough to hold on for the eventual victory.
There were several notable performances from the side of Buducnost. Hassan Martin led all whites shirts in scoring with a 17-point performance on some rock-solid shooting. He went 7-for-9 from the field and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. He did all of that in only 18 minutes on the floor. It was a complete and well-rounded team effort, a trademark of their style of play so far this season. Justin Cobbs scored 16 points, while Suad Sehovic chimed in with 15 points of his own, thanks to 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
Crvena Zvezda’s play was quite the opposite. They leaned heavily on big man James Gist, who did not disappoint as he dropped a game-high 27 points on crazy 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the charity stripe, while also adding six rebounds and six assists. Unfortunately, his one-man show, while unstoppable, was not enough to carry his team to victory. Only Billy Baron and Charles Jenkins joined Gist in scoring in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
From the looks of things, Red Star needs to revisit its roots and go back to unselfish basketball, focusing on good ball movement and also being a beast on defense.
The victory moves Buducnost to the top of the ABA League standings with a 2-0 record. Red Star falls to unfamiliar territory, in fifth place, with their 1-1 slate.
It’s really too early in the season to draw any conclusions as of yet. One thing’s for sure, the vibe in the ABA League is now electric with the possibilities being wide-open for Crvena Zvezda to be defeated in Belgrade.