Zvezda ambushes ASVEL in thriller
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade came back from 21 points down to beat LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 80-83 on the road when Kevin Punter nailed the game-winner in the waning seconds. Punter finished with 18 points, including that three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left, as Zvezda improved to 9-9 with a four-game winning streak. Vladimir Stimac collected 21 points and Lorenzo Brown chipped in 13 points and 7 assists as the Belgrade side also won its fourth road game of the last five. ASVEL was paced by Adreian Payne, who scored 17 points, while Rihards Lomazs added 14, Theo Maledon 13 and David Lighty 11 points in defeat. The French side dropped to 8-10, including a 7-4 record at home.
Lighty started with a jumper and a layup as ASVEL opened a 9-0 lead in under 2 minutes. Brown's free throw finally put Zvezda on the board but was answered by a Lighty three-pointer in a 13-4 surge which included two Tonye Jekiri scores and a three from Payne for a 22-5 advantage. Zvezda managed the next 5 points but Maledon came off the bench for 4 points as ASVEL led 30-13 after 10 minutes. Stimac did his best to get Zvezda back into the game with four baskets to pull the guests within 34-23. Livio Jean-Charles had a big dunk between three-pointers from Lomazs and Payne to keep ASVEL in charge at 44-27. Zvezda could not come up with defensive stops and Maledon's three-point play increased the gap to 49-30 at the break. Zvezda's defense stood strong for the first couple of possessions of the second half and Brown's trey trimmed the deficit to 49-35. Amine Noua answered with 3 free throws. Dejan Davidovac scored from deep and then Ognjen Dobric scored 5 points in a 2-11 run that saw Zvezda get as close as 57-54. Payne came up with a block and three-ball to push ASVEL's lead back to 64-57 but Zvezda's push continued and Punter nailed the three at the buzzer to make it 65-64 after 30 minutes. Nikola Jovanovic's dunk knotted the game 66-66 early in the fourth. Maledon responded with consecutive baskets to keep ASVEL ahead but Punter's 2 free throws gave Zvezda its first lead, 72-74. Punter added a jumper and Stimac nailed a three-pointer as the advantage grew to 73-79 with 2 minutes left. ASVEL head coach Zvezdan Mitrovc was ejected from the game at that stage with a second technical foul. ASVEL could not get a score while Stimac and James Gist both missed 2 foul shots for Zvezda. That allowed Lighty to trim the deficit to 75-79 on a layup with 39 seconds to play. After Brown hit 1 of 2 free throws, Lomazs drained a triple at 78-80 with 25 seconds left. Punter's inbounds pass was then stolen by Lighty, who laid it in to tie the game 80-80 with 15 seconds left. But Punter redeemed himself with the dagger three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left for the win as Stimac blocked Lomazs's three-point try to force overtime, sending the victory back to Belgrade.
Stimac did what?
In the heat of the fourth-quarter battle, Vladimir Stimac nailed his first three-point try of the season, which was good for just the second triple of his EuroLeague career. Stimac had made only 1 of 8 tries from the arc in his first 100 games, the previous three-pointer coming for FC Bayern Munich in 2014-15.
Gist catches and passes Vesely
James Gist collected 6 rebounds to move to 1,037 boards in EuroLeague history, moving into 14th place on the all-time list, passing Jan Vesely's 1,036 rebounds. Gist also rejected Theo Maledon in the second quarter for his 142nd block in his EuroLeague career, pulling even in 12th place with Vesely.
Zvezda made 68.4 percent of its two-point shots and also connected on 6-of-11 three-pointers in the second half to grab the win. Though the Belgrade side almost did itself in by hitting just 13-of-25 free throws for 52.0 percent.
After three straight home games, ASVEL heads on the road next and will face Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on January 14. Zvezda returns home and will take on Zalgiris Kaunas on January 15.
Friday, January 10, 2020