By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Buducnost VOLI became the first Montenegrin team to win ABA League with a 77-73 win against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. This victory qualified Buducnost for the next Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season, while Serbia won’t have a team in the elite competition for the first time since the 2000/01 season.
With a minute left, Nikola Ivanovic proved his value and became the hero of the game. He stole the ball and gave Buducnost a two-point lead with an easy lay-up and then in the following offense scored a though contested mid-range shot to increase it even more. Zvezda couldn’t recover from this as the hosts remained calm at the free throw line and secured the win.
— ABA Liga (@ABA_League) April 14, 2018
Ivanovic, the hero tonight, scored 17 points in addition to Nemanja Gordic’s game-high 18 and Filip Barovic’s 14 points. On the other side, Taylor Rochestie scored 14 while Alen Omic helped with 12 points.
The game started off slowly as both teams waited for three minutes to score the first points from the field. Despite that, it was a fairly effective first quarter that ended in the host’s favor (22-15). Buducnost built a seven-point advantage primarily thanks to their high pick and roll plays which created a lot of open shots while Zvezda on the other side scored only twice in the two-point territory (2/11).
In the second period, the guests started using Buducnost’s own tactics against them as the same type of pick and roll worked for them too. The three-point shot percentage also kept high enough and with a bit of an advantage in the paint creating second chances, Zvezda went on the break with a 38-36 lead.
After the break, it seemed that the Serbian team will create a significant lead after scoring twice from behind the arc and not letting Buducnost score any points, but after Aleksandar Dzikic’s timeout, the home team regained their focus. Gordic and Barovic partnered up to bring their team back in the game and give an advantage before the deciding final minutes.
Photo credit: ABA