Cedevita dominated Crvena Zvezda at home (84-68) yesterday and handed the Serbians their first defeat in the ABA League.
The Croatian hosts took the lead from the second quarter onwards and never looked back. They led by as many as 29 points (77-48) and cruised to an easy victory. The Serbian visitors cut the deficit to 12 in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 3-20 run (80-68). But they eventually lost the game by 16.
Five players scored in double figures for the winners, with Jacob Pullen posting a team-high 15 points. Ognjen Dobric had a game-high 17 points for the losing squad, as Dusan Ristic added 12.
With this defeat, Crvena Zvezda saw its 16-game winning streak in the ABA League come to an end. Therefore, they now are 16-1, whereas Cedevita improved to 12-5.
With five round to go in the regular season, the Serbians will most likely finish on top of the standings. For their part, the Croatians are second, but only one win ahead of Partizan and Buducnost.
Crvena Zvezda is the favorite to go all the way in the ABA League. Their primary target is to win the championship and return to the EuroLeague.
At the same time, their effort to reach the quarter-finals of the EuroCup is in serious jeopardy. Their back-to-back losses to Valencia dropped them to 1-3 in the Top 16. They now are in a vulnerable position, as Unicaja Malaga is two wins ahead (3-1), with two games remaining.
As a result, Crvena Zvezda has to win both games and claim the tie-breaker over the Spaniards. Then, they will have a chance to advance to the playoffs. Concurrently, Malaga should also remain winless in its last two games.
If the Serbians fail to advance to the quarter-finals, then winning the ABA League will be their only option to return to the EuroLeague. Otherwise, their season will end in a disappointment.