Partizan defended its home court on Saturday night and beat city rival Crvena Zvezda (70-67) to tie the ABA semi-final series and force a Game 3.
It was a late thriller at the Aleksandar Nikolic Hall that was decided in the final seconds. Marcus Paige scored five of his eight points for Partizan in the final 90 seconds and helped his team take the lead and never look back.
Billy Baron tried to respond for Crvena Zvezda, but Paige sealed the deal for Partizan from the free-throw line. Dejan Davidovac had a chance to tie the game and force overtime. But, he missed the shot and the visitors were defeated.
Vanja Marinkovic led Partizan with 18 points while Jock Landale added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Stratos Perperoglou had a team-high 16 points for the losing Crvena Zvezda. But he also got ejected with two unsportsmanlike fouls, which might have cost his team the win. Maik Zirbes contributed 11 points and five boards for Crvena Zvezda.
Game 3 will take place next week, with Crvena Zvezda having the home-court advantage. The winner will qualify for the ABA League Finals.
Crvena Zvezda barely survived Partizan in Game 1 (106-101). Yesterday, they lost game 2 against coach Andrea Trinchieri and his team. Now, the next game is a must-win for the two arch-rivals. Otherwise, their ABA season is over.