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NIJT Belgrade 2011 (Final Day)

February 20th, 2011 · No Comments

The Final Day of the NIJT in Belgrade 2011 started with the games for the Places 5-8. We concentrated however on the Bronze Medal and Final between Red Star Belgrade and FMP Belgrade. Here we go for the report.

INSEP – Partizan Belgrade

The French team took an early lead in the first quarter that they could use until the end of the game. They even went up until twenty in the second half but Partizan came back a bit without putting the French in trouble. Unlike the games before, INSEP could not dominate in the paint as the Serbians had some size on their side. Dusan Bogdanovic had clearly his best game and finished with 21pts and 6rebs. Nikola Majic did a good job but mainly scored during a stretch in the beginning where he had 8 points in row. Nikola Radicevic had still not found his rhythm that made him one of the most interesting players last year while Aleksandar Djordjevic scored 16 and had 4 assists.

On the French side, William Howard had 19pts in his typical style attacking the basket from outside. Livio Jean-Charles scored 14 and Mam Jaiteh had a nice game as well with 13pts (7/10 FTs). Without scoring much, he had only two points, Boris Dallo did an excellent job in the 12 minutes he was on the court facilitating a lot for his team mates. The French can have some regrets that they did not make it to the Final as they had clearly the potential to win this tournament. They should in any case get a Wildcard for the Final 8 in Barcelona.

FMP  Belgrade – Crvena Zvezda Belgrade

Everything was set for an interesting final, the Zvezda officials decided to make this game more important than the Senior derby by letting Aleksandar Cvetkovic play the Final and have a chance to qualify for the NIJT Final event in Barcelona. On the FMP side Nikola Jankovic was still missing as he is recovering from a mononucleosis but the rest of the team was there to win yet another title.

Red Star had the better start in the game with an early 8-2 lead but they had been called for 5 fouls already after only 4 minutes of play while FMP was missing lots of shots or taking bad decisions. On a Nikola Pavlovic three pointer, FMP took the lead for the first time and the game did now really start. But the Reds had an answer as Cvetkovic shared the ball with his team mates that answered to the confidence he showed for them by making their shots and grabbing a 23-14 lead. Nemanja Bezbradica continued to attack the basket and scored to bring the score to 27-18 at the end of the first quarter. However, Red Star was already in big foul trouble as Arandjelovic had 3, Marinkovic 2 and Saicic 2 as well.

FMP continued to struggle on defense as they were not really present mentally and physically to stop the aggressive Red Star players. That’s the reason why Zvezda was up 42-27 after five minutes in the 2nd quarter but the team fouls were clearly distributed (12 for Red Star, 8 for FMP). FMP switched to zone defense but Cvetkovic continued to attack the defense at will and put them in serious trouble. The guard had already scored 16pts after the first 18 minutes and cumulated 20 ranking points. Stefan Popovski hit his second three-pointer and forced Red Star coach Vicentic to take a timeout as Nikola Cvorovic suffered from a slight injury on a defensive rebound situation as well. FMP could not cut the lead significantly though and the multiple NIJT winners trailed by 11 at halftime.

The second half started like the first ended with Cvetkovic flashing past the FMP defense that now tried to guard the Adriatic League experience guard with the 95 born Nikola Rebic. Hard-nosed Marko Radonjic got called for an unsportsmanlike foul on the break that might have sound like a wake-up call for Nenad Miljenovic but another bad choice by Bezbradica who took his third three-pointer of the game and bricked it as all the others before. The answer was a tough basket by Radonjic to put the score to 62-49. The next option from the bench was Luka Pavlovic who took over the defensive duties on Cvetkovic and Miljenovic started to take the responsibilities on offense with an important three to bring the deficit back under 10 points. The defense of FMP became a bit better and this was enough the be totally back in the game on a Popovski lay-up at 69-75. But Cvetkovic continued his show and finalized the quarter with an incredible buzzer-beating scoop shot out of the drive.

Zvezda struggled in the beginning of the fourth quarter as Marinkovic got his fourth foul and FMP cut the lead to 81-86 with 5 minutes on the clock. FMP now regularly double-teamed Cvetkovic who was still able to find his open team mates despite massive pressure. Additionally, the Red Star guard showed now an important presence on the offensive glass to create second chances that were well used by the team. The money time approached and Cvetkovic opened it with a fantastic pass to Marinkovic who slammed two points home to get back to the 10 point difference. FMP was unable to do something against the Cvetkovic show and Marinkovic scored point number 100 from the free-throw line. Cvetkovic finished his show with a final basket and the win at 102-91. Red Star goes to Barcelona, FMP lost.

All-Tournament Team

PG – Aleksandar Cvetkovic (Red Star)

SG – Luka Rupnik (Union Olimpija)

SG – Nenad Miljenoivc (FMP Belgrade)

PF – Stefan Popovski-Turanjanin (FMP Belgrade)

C – Livio Jean-Charles (INSEP)

MVP:  Aleksandar Cvetkovic (Red Star)

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