MoraBanc downs Zvezda, stays perfect at home
MoraBanc Andorra inched closer to securing its place in the Top 16 and kept its perfect home record intact with a 91-80 win over visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Tuesday night. MoraBanc improved to 5-3 in Group A and also secured a tiebreak advantage over Zvezda, overcoming a 6-point loss from Round 3. Andrew Albicy had 19 points to lead six MoraBanc scorers in double figures, while David Jelinek scored 14 of his 16 points after halftime. Joe Ragland finished with 20 points for Zvezda, which suffered its third consecutive loss and saw its record slide to 4-4.
The hosts came out firing from long range; Shane Whittington hit back-to-back shots for MoraBanc and while Ragland countered with 6 points on the other end, Albicy and Michele Vitali hit back-to-back threes to make it 14-11. A transition three-pointer from Dylan Ennis helped the hosts take a 23-17 advantage, but Billy Baron answered from downtown for Zvezda. MoraBanc led 25-20 after 10 minutes. Filip Covic brought the visitors within a single point early in the second. The teams kept trading blows before Albicy took over, almost single-handedly keeping the hosts in front with 3 more triples. Baron and Mouhammad Faye each hit once from downtown for Zvezda, however, not allowing the margin to get bigger than 5 points before a put-back by each Faye and Maik Zirbes tied the game and a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Stratos Perperoglou gave the visitors a 46-47 edge at halftime. Zirbes and Ragland had three-point plays that kept Zvezda with a slim lead, but John Shurna beat the shot-clock with a three to restore Andorra’s lead, 58-57. Jelinek had a fastbreak layup and a triple-plus-foul that made it 64-60. Reggie Upshaw and Oliver Stevic extended it to 71-62 at the end of the third quarter, but Baron and Perperoglou each hit a three-pointer to get Zvezda within 73-70. Vitali and Ragland exchanged triples that made it 78-73 with four minutes to go. Albicy nailed a long jumper and Shurna scored from close range, 84-73. Shurna's three-point play in the final minute sealed the outcome as the hosts celebrated their fourth win in as many home games.
It looked as though the game was going down to the wire when Stratos Perperoglou hit a three-pointer to get the visitors within 73-70 with 6:20 to go. However, MoraBanc allowed only one field goal, a three-pointer by Joe Ragland, in almost five minutes, and patiently pulled away to 84-73.
MoraBanc is not only unbeaten at home, but it also averages a EuroCup high 99.8 points per game.
Movers and shakers
MoraBank had four players with 10 points: Michele Vitali, Sayne Whittington, John Shurna and Oliver Stevic. The latter also had 7 rebounds. Billy Baron netted 14 points for Zvezda, and Stratos Perperoglou added 10 in defeat.
Climbing up three-point ladder
With 4 three-point shots made, Billy Baron reached 103 for his EuroCup career. He is one of 10 active players with more than 100 three-point shots and has the fewest games played (49) in that select group. Among active players, Baron ranks third with an average of 2.1 triples made per game.
In Round 9, Zvezda will try to end its losing streak at home against Germani Brescia Leonessa, while MoraBanc travels to face ratiopharm Ulm.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018