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24.10.2007 23:28

AXA Barša had it in their grasp (81-78)

S˛nia de Alba

Barša failed to win in their Euroleague debut. After reducing a 12 point deficit they failed with the final push.

The Pionir Arena celebrated Partizan’s win as if they had just been crowned champions of Europe. The Belgrade based side were intimidated early on by playmaker Mario Kasun’s excellent form on the paint, who unfortunately picked up two fouls early on. But Barša weren’t letting Partizan play their usual game and led at the end of the first period 15-20.

Acker starts and injury to Morandais

77470913SM029_ITA_Euroleagu.JPGA lack of fit guards meant Dusko Ivanovic opted to start with the out of form and somewhat nervous Alex Acker. Michel Morandais performed better and scored a three pointer and one of his two free throws. But further misfortune struck when Morandais injured his right elbow in an off the ball incident, and retired from the game.

Partizan with Pekovic and Tepic

Then Partizan started throwing more caution to the wind, focusing on Nikola Pekovic and plays around the board. The centre was on superb form and finished the game on 29 points and made just one error from a free throw. Every ball he touched seemed to produce danger. His accuracy added to the young and talented Tepic’s points had swung the game around by the end of the half.

There was little in it at the break (42-41), but the worst of AXA Barša had yet to come.

77470913SM049_Euroleague_Ba.JPGThe game got off to a slow restart, with Partizan picking up most of the points. Barša lost their focus but not even double three point scorer Jaka Lakovic was able to find much fortune.
Ivanovic decided it was time to send on young blood, and on went Albert Moncasi and Nihat Djedovic, the Catalan eventually staying on until the end, while Djedovic got 5:50 minutes. But the changes failed to make any difference.

Marconato shorted the distance with a long range throw to cheer things up, but after 30 minutes, Barša were still seriously lagging behind (62-54).

No foul

77470913SM015_ITA_Euroleagu.JPGMario Kasun returned for the final period and Barša started showing signs of recovery. Despite falling to a maximum of 12 points down (70-58), Barša were getting their act together. Pepe Sßnchez was the key, using his intelligence to breathe new life into the team. It was all square on 73 each with just a minute and a half on the clock.

With Partizan in possession and the score at 79-78 with 15 seconds to go, Ersan Ilyasova failed to make a quick foul. Time was running out and when the Turkish player finally made the foul there were just two seconds left. Partizan converted them both through Vitkovac, and Pepe Sßnchez’s ambitious cross-court effort failed to hit the target.

AXA Barša came close but not close enough in their Euroleague dÚbut. The action continues next week with the opening game at the Palau against Turkish outfit Fenerbahše.

AXA Barša had it in their grasp (81-78)

Partizßn (15+27+20+19): Palacio (13), Tepic (14), Velickovic (5), Vitkovac (12), Vranes (3) –starting five – Kecman (3), Borovnjak (-), Tripkovic (2), Pekovic (29)Djurkovic (-), Bozic (-), Milosevic (-)

AXA FC Barcelona (20+21+13+24): Trias (4), Lakovic (21), Morandais (4), Acker (-), Kasun (13) – starting five – Sßnchez (7), Marconato (6), Rabaseda (-), Vßzquez (10), Djedovic (1), Ilyasova (6), Moncasi (6)

Referees: Koukoulekidis, Sahin and Anastopoulos

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