Crvena Zvezda stepped up in overtime and defeated Partizan at home (106-101) in Game 1 of the ABA League best-of-three semi-final series.
All major sporting events are on ESPN+. Sign up here for a free one-week trial and enjoy the top teams and athletes in action only on ESPN+
In a late thriller in Belgrade, Partizan’s guard Alex Renfroe made the lay-up and tied the game, forcing an overtime (85-85). The visitors remained competitive in the extra period (96-96) and tried to steal the road victory.
But, Billy Baron took over and handed Zvezda the win. Baron scored nine of his 23 points in the final minute of the match and sealed the deal for his team.
Partizan could not recover from a seven-point deficit (103-96) and, consequently, they were defeated.
Apart from Baron, Dejan Davidovac had 18 points and six rebounds for the winners. Filip Covic contributed 16 points and nine assists.
Vanja Marinkovic and Jock Landale posted 20 and 17 points, respectively, for the losing squad.
Game 2 will take place in Partizan’s home-court. It is a must-win game for coach Andrea Trinchieri and his players. They will be eliminated from the ABA League Finals, if they lose again.
*Yiannis Bouranis is an affiliate partner of ESPN and is being compensated for the use of ESPN+ affiliate links. The opinions expressed in his posts are his own.