U18 Stellazzurra Rome collected its first victory of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals by knocking off U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 65-75 in Group B. Stellazzurra fought back from 11 points down and laid the foundation for the win with a 0-23 third quarter run to improve to 1-1 and remain alive for a chance to return to the ANGT Championship Game for the first time since losing in 2018. Matteo Visintin poured in 24 points with 5 steals for Stellazzurra with Fabrizio Pugliatti collecting 13 points and 11 rebounds, Eric Dailey Jr adding 13 points and Emmanuel Innocenti contributing 11 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The 2014 continental champion Zvezda dropped to 0-2 in the group despite Andrija Vukovic tallying 19 points and 9 rebounds, Luka Vudragovic scoring 16 points and Vladimir Pavlovic adding 11 points and 8 assists.
Stellazzurra downs Zvezda for first win
Pavlovic’s free throws opened the scoring and Dailey Jr converted a three-point play for Stellazzurra’s first lead 2-3. Vukovic picked up seven points and Filip Radakovic converted an and-one to help Zvezda pull ahead 17-13. Vudragovic added four points and the margin was 23-17 before Stellazzurra trimmed it to 23-20 after 10 minutes.
Vukovic continued his strong game with four points as Zvezda started the second quarter with a 6-0 run and Vudragovic’s floater led to the first double-digit lead at 35-25. Stellazzurra was within 36-29 at the break.
Zvezda had the better start to the second half with Radakovic hitting a triple to extend the margin to 42-31. The advantage was 44-33 when Zvezda fell apart, committing five turnovers and failing to score the final 6:40 minutes of the quarter. Lucas Fresno drained two three-pointers and Pugliatti scored seven points in a 0-23 run to lead 44-56 after 30 minutes.
The host team was not ready to lose again with Vukovic and Vudragovic combining for 12 points and Matovic hit a triple to pull it within 59-61. Pugliatti answered with a score and Fresno knocked down another three-pointer to extend the gap to 59-66. Zvezda twice trimmed the deficit to five points before back-to-back scores by Visitin closed the game for good for a 63-72 lead with 53 seconds to play. Stellazzurra committed turnovers on two straight possessions but Zvezda could not punish the Italian side.