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NIJT Belgrade 2014: Day 3 Recap

February 24th, 2014 · No Comments

The last day of the Nike International Junior Tournament in Belgrade was of course marked by the Final, the different contests and the individual trophies handed out to the players. See below for the review of Sunday’s action.

I did not follow the morning session so that the first game to talk about was the Bronze Medal game between Mega Vizura and Cedevita. This turned out to be a clear domination by the Croatian team where Lovro Mazalin was back after his trip to Kragujevac. Ante Zizic and Dragan Bender showed their value in the paint closing every attempt by the Mega Vizura penetrations. Cedevita went up big early but the Serbian team could comme back when changing to a zone defense and hitting some shots from outside on offense. Bender finished with 21 points finally making his shots, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks while Zizic controlled the boards with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 7 rejections. Mazalin took care of the scoring and helped the two bigs in the paint with 11 boards. Nikola Pavlovic did his best to keep the hope alive but his 17 points were not enough to get the difference back to single digits.

The Final game was way more open that most observers expected. Even if INSEP had a lot of trouble to find into the game at the beginning, especially on offense, they closed the paint effectively with Ywen Smock and Stephane Gombauld. Vojislav Stojanovic was not effective as usual so that the score remained low in the first quarter. INSEP continued to miss their free-throws in the second quarter but several great defensive plays by Gombauld gave the French team transition opportunities but they could not convert them. Crvena Zvezda controlled the difference somehow without playing great on offense but effectively preventing INSEP from scoring. After a double technical on Smock and Radovanovic, the hosts came slowly into foul trouble but a massive block by Stefan Lazarevic on a Loubaki dunk attempt woke up the crowd again. Smock added a huge dunk with the foul and INSEP remained in the game at halftime. They even reduced the gap to only 6 points in the third quarter when it was time for me to leave to catch the flight back home. In the end, the hosts won again their own tournament and qualified for the Final 8 event in Milano

All-Tournament Team

  • Vojislav Stojanovic
  • Stefan Lazarevic
  • Lovro Mazalin
  • Stephane Gombauld
  • Vasilije Bacovic

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