In the fourth round of the regional ABA League, Cedevita Olimpija has welcomed KK Partizan Belgrade, a team that has recorded 9 wins out of their 10 official matches to kick off the 2019/2020 season, going 4-0 in their EuroCup group.
An extremely competitive first quarter between two Final Four candidates was filled with great offensive plays, Andrija Stipanović profiting mostly due to offensive rebounding in the paint whilst posting up 8 points in the process. Nemanja Gordić has made his presence felt and managed to pull his team up from a 9 point deficit, scoring 6 consecutive points. Result at the first-quarter mark – 24:21 for Zmajevi.
Great defense from Cedevita Olimpija was crucial in seeking control of the first half, allowing Partizan only 5 field goals made in the first 20 minutes of play. The leading scorers at the halfpoint for the teams were Stipanović with 10, and Gordić along with Marcus Paige scoring 7 points a piece. Cedevita Olimpija managed to keep the lead, 43:39.
Basketball worth of a regional derby continued in the third quarter. Crno-beli have caught up in the third period rallying mostly behind Nemanja Gordić who pumped up his total points by scoring additional six. Dragons still held on the smallest lead margin, 58:57.
To start off the last quarter, Marko Simonović, who was 0/2 from the three-point range, scored back-to-back threes! From that point on, it seemed like Zmajevi had everything under control. The attack was flawless, whilst defense held their own part in a poor performance by Partizan players, who tended to execute fast pace in catching up but they simply couldn’t. Simonović and Codi Miller-Mcintyre both scored 15 points for the winning side, while on the other side the most efficient was Nemanja Gordić with 13.
The most important thing is that we won. If someone told me we were to beat them by one point before the game, I would have accepted it! They are playing great and have shown great form and quality so far. and I congratulate them on that. I think we played our best game of the season! We have shown true character which is the most important after the EuroCup losses. We can play against big teams and win! This is a big win for us, but there is no time for celebration. Badalona trip is waiting to try and catch the momentum. Theoretically, I still think we have a shot to go to the knockout stage, but we will see. We were the better team and I think we saw we can do it and I don’t think we knew what we were capable of doing, which is why this game was excellent for us!Marko Simonović for Enter the Court after the win against Partizan