Saturday, 16 April 2022

ABA League Faces Undefined Relegation Scenario Between League 1 and 2

April 16, 2022 - KK Split and Skopje will surely be in the top tier next season, while Borac and Zlatibor may now need to wait for new regulations in the ABA League.

It's not every day that teams don't know what the rule will be for relegation at the end of a season but it's probably only once in a lifetime that they don't even know which regulation will apply by the end of the season.

It looked well on paper that the last team in ABA League 1 will drop out (KK Krka from Novo Mesto), winner of the ABA League 2 finals will move up (Skopje and Zlatibor will face each other at 17:00 tonight). The loser of that game would face the second team from the bottom of League 1 (like last season KK Split again) to see who wins two games first and plays League 1 next season. 

However, a basis for making sure that the competition stays international is that no more than 5 teams from Serbia should play in League 1. Those 5 teams are currently 1st placed Red Star, 2nd Partizan, 6th FMP, and 9th Mega from Belgrade. KK Borac from Čačak is currently in position 12, thought to be safe, and is now facing a possible relegation due to Zlatibor from Čajetina in Serbia being one of the two finalists in League 2.

Today's game between Zlatibor and Skopje may now open several undefined scenarios. 

  1. If Zlatibor wins the final they may either end up taking Borac's place directly or may need to play them for relegation. KK Split would be saved from relegation as would Skopje who would take Krka's place. 
  2. If Skopje wins the final and moves up directly taking Krka's place it could get really fascinating. KK Split may then have to play against Zlatibor knowing that Split cannot drop out. The only reason for the game would be in order to establish if Zlatibor -should they beat Split- would then have to play against Borac which they would not need to if they lost against Split.

Seems like just another day in the Balkans. Let's hope that at least for the future such regulation will be clearly defined without any loopholes.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

ABA League Play-Off Participant List Complete

April 3, 202 - With yesterday’s victory in Split, FMP Belgrade secured its place in the 2021/22 ABA League Play-Offs as one of six teams alongside Partizan and Red Star Belgrade, Budućnost, Igokea, and Olympia Ljubljana. These top six teams will still continue to battle for position in the next weeks to secure home-court advantage and possibly even a wild-card into the semi-finals. 

The team that will finish the regular season at the top of the list (currently Red Star Belgrade with coach Dejan Radonjić) will secure a wild card into the semi-finals and will have a home-court advantage in both the semi-finals and the finals (should they win the best of three series). The runner-up (currently Partizan Belgrade coached by legendary Željko Obradović) will also have a wild card to go directly into the semi-finals.

Teams 3-6 will play the quarter-finals third against sixth, to establish who will meet the runner-up and fourth against fifth to establish who will play against the regular-season champion. The finals will be played as a best of five series in a 2-2-1 format, meaning that the top seed team will start with two home games.

Meanwhile, KK Split player Toni Perković's dunk against FMP Belgrade was rightfully chosen as yesterday’s Play Of The Day. The David against Goliath set-up got the spectators at Gripe excited as it is not every day that you see a shooting guard dunk over a 208cm expert shot blocker like Ebuka Izundu.

 

ABA League Format:

The 14 teams play each other twice during the regular season to establish 6 teams that will play for the title, one team that will drop out of the league directly, and the “lucky 13th” having a chance to stay in the league by winning a best of three series against the runner-up of ABA League 2. The six teams that finish at the top of the league at the end of the regular season play each other in a playoff mode. The top two teams receive a wild card and enter the playoffs in the semi-finals, while the other four teams play each other first (3rd against 6th and 4th against 5th). The reigning champion is Red Star Belgrade who defeated Budućnost in a long 3-2 final series. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page
 

Saturday, 2 April 2022

KK Split Fans Witness Battle, Excitement, Frustration in 85:90 ABA League Overtime Loss to FMP Belgrade

April 2, 2022 - This was the third extremely close game within 96 hours for KK Split who was welcomed very warmly by their officially reported 2000 fans at Gripe after the 81:80 victory on Thursday against Mega Belgrade and the 77:78 defeat against Zadar on Tuesday.

Srđan Subotić, coach of Split had again called for help from the bleachers after it had worked well last time: "This rhythm continues every other day. FMP is an athletic team, and extremely energetic. FMP is playing a great season, they come motivated and full of desire to win. We play at home, the audience gives us extra energy. Thank you to the fans who follow us game after game. Gripe is getting fuller, a great atmosphere has been created and we will do our best to use it."

Guest coach Nenad Stefanović knew what awaited him and called his team to stay attentive: "The Split team showed us in the first match in Zeleznik, especially in the first half, how dangerous it can be and how potent it is in the attack. They work very well offensively, with the arrival of Shorter they gained an extra dimension in the attack, and with the return of Jones stability and strength in the racket. They are a team that is very strong and difficult, especially at home. In addition to the victories they achieved, they were close to surprising the big favorites several times. We prepared as seriously as possible."

The Yellows went into the game with a three victory streak in the ABA League and with the aim to secure 13th place which means a shot at relegation against the runner-up of ABA League 2. They possibly could have even reached for the final straw that would give them rank 12 if they won all remaining games and if the other results went their way. FMP on the other side still had the chance to qualify for the playoffs early with a win tonight.

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For almost the entire game it wasn't clear which team would come closer to their goal. What neither side seemed to be expecting was how close this game would be and that only extra time would produce a winner.  

The first quarter went to Belgrade (18:20) who were usually upfront in the first half but Split was always close to follow. With their last attack of the first half, the Yellows took their first lead of the game at 39:38. FMP Belgrade then closed that gap again in the third quarter which meant 52:52 before the fourth quarter.

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The game continued to be extremely close but a block by Perković, followed by points and great efforts by him and Shorter not only lead to a 61:58 with 6:24 to play but also brought the crowd off their seats. 

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Less than a minute later everybody held their breath when Shannon Shorter had to be taken out of the game as he appeared to be injured. Luckily he was able to return to the game after brief treatment. The home team needed their leader as Belgrade was able to tie the game again. 

Kovačević scored a three-point shot with 1 minute 42 seconds left to make it 72:69, but Belgrade answered with a fast break, a good defense, and a three-pointer by Stepanović to turn the game around at 72:74 with 25 seconds to play.

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Split's inside man Žganec kept his cool and made both of his free throws to tie the game again at 74:74 and 19 seconds on the clock. Subotić called his team to defend instead of going for a quick foul and the team followed his instructions well. Belgrade's point-guard Bryce Jones missed his layup, which meant overtime.

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The guests had a better start into the additional five minutes and quickly established a five-point lead. Forward Tasić even succeeded in increasing the lead to 80:86 with a 3 point shot and only 88 seconds left to play. 

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Perković's three points to reach 83:86 did not make a difference and the home side was not at the happy end of the week. Belgrade's Bryce Jones scored a total of 23 points to become the top scorer of the night. Shannon Shorter scored one less but also grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double while he carried his team during most of the game. 

Referees: Matej Boltauzer, Milan Nedović, Matej Špendl

Box score: https://www.aba-liga.com/match-live/169/21/1/Overview/q1/1/home/split-fmp-meridian/ 

ABA League Format:

ABA League Format:
The 14 teams play each other twice during the regular season to establish 6 teams that will play for the title, one team that will drop out of the league directly, and the “lucky 13th” having a chance to stay in the league by winning a best of three series against the runner-up of ABA League 2. The six teams that finish at the top of the league at the end of the regular season play each other in a play-off mode. The top two teams receive a wild card and enter the playoffs in the semi-finals, while the other four teams play each other first (3rd against 6th and 4th against 5th). The reigning champion is Red Star Belgrade who defeated Budućnost in a long 3-2 final series. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Thursday, 31 March 2022

KK Split Gifts an Exciting 81:80 (38:43) Win to Fans

March 31, 2022 - KK Split gets the 81:80 (38:43) win as Mega Belgrade had the last ball but fell short in the ABA League game.

Tonight 1250 spectators created exactly the atmosphere at Gripe that Srđan Subotić, coach of KK Split had called for and the Yellows thanked them with a single point last-second 81:80 victory. 

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"This is a key game for us in this part of the season, with the victory we can gain a significant advantage over Krk [currently last in the league but still with a chance to reach 13th position]. The most important thing is our physical fitness after a difficult game against Zadar. Mega is young, twelve days without games. If we respond physically then our chances are great. I hope the stands are full, the support in the match with Zadar was great, I believe it will be the same against Mega." The Yellows only had 46 hours to re-generate since their Tuesday single-point home defeat against KK Zadar (read about here) but had still brought some confidence to the game with back-to-back wins in ABA League against Mornar (76:67) and a surprising away game win at Borac (59:64).

MEGA Belgrade on the other hand had lost six games in a row in the ABA League since their 79:86 derby victory at FMP Belgrade on January 29th. Since the beginning of the calendar year, they have been pretty much in the table’s no-man’s land with relegation being no concern and the playoffs out of reach. Vladimir Jovanović, coach of Mega Mozart before the game: “Split has very good momentum, they celebrated two victories, against Mornar at home and against Borac away, they definitely raised their form. Since the first match in Belgrade, they changed the team a lot, in addition to Jones, who was absent from the court for a long time, they added Shorter and their entire outside line is very good.” It was quite obvious that if the guests wanted to win the game they had to improve the level of defense compared to their previous six games.

The spectators witnessed an entertaining game right from the start. The guest team's sharpshooter Simanić opened the game with a three-point shot before a team effort with a three-pointer by Barič, a block by Jones, and a mid-range jumper from Shorter was followed by a beautiful effort for two more points by Jones to give Split the first lead (7:3) of the night.

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Both sides were able to count on their accuracy from outside. Belgrade's Simanić (7 of 8!) and Split's Perković (4 of 6) kept making their outside shots throughout the entire game. The guests were able to pull away a little by the end of the first half due to Simanić who delivered a perfect first half with 2 for 2 from the field, 1 of 1 from the free-throw line, and an incredible 4 for 4 from behind the three-point line for a total of 17 points in only 10 minutes and 17 seconds on the court. 

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The game went back and forth in the third quarter. Mega went up by 12 points at the beginning before Split turned it around to finish the quarter 59:55.

What the spectators got to see in the fourth quarter made up for a lot. After none of the teams could pull away decisively, Perković made four successful free throws after an intentional foul on the fast break to give his team an important 71:64 lead. 

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The guests came back with a great 5 point run to 71:69 before two successful free throws by Shorter after another fast break foul meant 73:69.

Mega Belgrade kept their cool and answered with another successful 3-point shot by Simanić to make it 73:72 and possession for the Yellows with 68 seconds to go. 

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Ukić missed his three-point attempt but Žganec came up with the offensive rebound and his scoring attempt received a goaltending call to give the home team a 75:72 lead with 40 seconds to play.

At 77:76 another intentional foul by Belgrade's Metković gave Žganec the chance to decide the game but the inside man only scored 1 of his 2 free throw attempts. 

Perković made it better by scoring what seemed to be the decisive 3 point shot of the game for the 79:74 lead but it was Simanić again with another 3 to reopen the race at 79:77 with 7 seconds to play. 

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Two successful free throws by Shorter to make it 81:77 with 4 seconds to play should have been the end of the game.

Should have, could have, would have, if Split was not stupid enough to foul Jović during his final three-point attempt. The ball went in, 81:80, free-throw Jović to make it into overtime. 

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As if the excitement was not enough, Jović missed, the guests picked up the offensive rebound with a second to play but luckily for Split the ball went out of control and time ran out to give Split the third ABA league victory in a row and Belgrade a frustrating trip to Zadar after seven straight losses.

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Simanić was the top scorer of the game with 30 points followed by his teammate Jović with 22. For KK Split Perković collected 21 points followed by Shorter with 16. Honorable mention also goes to Barič who made 4 of his 5 three-point attempts for a total of 15 points. 

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Referees: Luka Kardum, Edo Javor, Stefan Ćalić

Box score: 

https://www.aba-liga.com/match/162/21/1/Boxscore/q1/1/home/split-mega-mozzart/ 

ABA League Format:

The 14 teams play each other twice during the regular season to establish 6 teams that will play for the title, one team that will drop out of the league directly, and the “lucky 13th” having a chance to stay in the league by winning a best of three series against the runner-up of ABA League 2. The six teams that finish at the top of the league at the end of the regular season play each other in a play-off mode. The top two teams receive a wild card and enter the playoffs in the semi-finals, while the other four teams play each other first (3rd against 6th and 4th against 5th). The reigning champion is Red Star Belgrade who defeated Budućnost in a long 3-2 final series. 

To read more about sports in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Sunday, 6 March 2022

KK Krka Uses Home-Court Advantage to Win ABA League Relegation Fight against Split 87:84 (46:49)

March 6, 2022 - A good first half by KK Split was not enough to bring back important points from KK Krka in Slovenia.

Both teams at Leona Štuklja Sports Hall in Novo Mesto knew how important the match was for their respective future in ABA League 1. Merely 3 wins from 18 games for the hosts and 3 wins from 19 games for the “Yellows” from Split meant the worst two teams in the league were going head to head.

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Mornar, Zadar, and Borac, with seven victories, already seem out of reach, and the loser would very likely have to go down into the second league while the winner would at least keep hopes alive to play relegation against the runner-up in ABA League 2.

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Krka coach Dalibor Damjanović tried to have his team prepared against many threats from Shannon Shorter and several of his teammates while Srđan Subotić, coach of Split, tried to have his team forget the surprising home game loss against KK Alkar on Friday. Instead, both coaches had their teams start the game focused. 

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The 250 guests who came to watch the game at an unusual time saw a good first half with few mistakes on both sides. The match was very balanced in the first half, with plenty of lead changes. Nevertheless, the guests from Split managed to take a slight lead into the locker room at half-time (46:49). 

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Krka all-around player Adonis Thomas who had been injured during the game in Split, showed his importance in the second half. The team from Novo Mesto returned wide awake from the break and laid the foundation for the win with a 23:11 scoring run in the third quarter. While the “Yellows” came back into the game in the fourth quarter, the energy seemed drained after the game on Friday and traveling on Saturday. 

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It could be just bad luck for Split that after 12 straight losses, it was in game 13 that Krka could stop its losing streak, but then again, any team making only 12 of 21 free throws does not deserve to win at this level. Both teams still have a few opportunities to change their position in the table but despite still holding the advantage in direct comparison, Split missed a critical chance tonight. 

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Apart from Thomas, who had eight rebounds and 23 points, Miha Lapornik shone brightly for the home team and dropped a total of 25 points to become the top scorer of the night. However, it was once again Shannon Shorter who scored most points for the guests sharing the spot with Toni Perkovic this time (both 18).

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The “Yellows" will have a week to lick their wounds before they host Mornar at Gripe on Friday. Krka will play in the Slovenian league on Wednesday before traveling to Borac on Saturday.

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2022/03/06 ABA League KK Krka vs. KK Split

Venue: ŠD Leona Štuklja Novo Mesto

Referees: Ilija Belošević, Uroš Obrknežević, Vladimir Vesković

Results by quarter. 21:24,25:25,23:11,18:24

Box-Score: https://www.aba-liga.com/match/141/21/1/Boxscore/q1/1/home/krka-split/

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 29 January 2022

KK Split Shows Sign of Life in ABA League

January 29, 2022 - KK Split won 89:77 over Igokea to mark the end of a 0:8 losing streak. 

The 350 fans who came to Gripe last night had good reason to celebrate. After a devastating 8 losses and last position in the league, the first-ever ABA league victory against the guests from Republika Srpska could not have come at a better time. 

Both teams had good reasons why they needed a success. Igokea was hoping to strengthen its position amongst the top 8 teams to qualify for the play-offs, however, "The Yellows" from Split had an urge to leave the end of the list in order to maintain a chance to avoid relegation.

It only took a few minutes until everyone could see who was the better team and why. Split's Shannon Shorter was unstoppable right from the start. The guests could neither stop him nor were they able to launch counterstrikes themselves. The 10:12 guest lead in the sixth minute was continuously remodeled by the hosts and turned into an 18 point lead in the 23rd minute of the match (54:36).

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Burak Canboy

The guests tried to come back, but Coach Srđan Subotić's team found quality answers to all of Igokea's attacks, even without the injured players Roko Ukić and Toni Perković. Apart from Top Scorer Shorter (28 points), Nejc Barić and Maj Kovacević also set exclamation marks by each hitting 4 of their 7 three-point attempts. Darko Bajo added another 14 points.

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Burak Canboy

"This is a very important victory for us, because of the situation in the table. We needed this self-confidence and faith that we are on the right track. This is proof that we can play against serious teams" was Subotic's comment on the success. 

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Burak Canboy

Guest coach Mirko Barač's team could not show the same quality of play that they had shown in the Champions League lately where they were close to qualifying for the round of 16. Marko Jošilo was his best scorer with 17 points followed by Robinson and Ilić with 14 each. 

Final result 89:77 (By quarter: 23:18, 24:18, 16:21, 26:20).

Referees: Marko Juras, Ivan Stefanović, Stefan Ćalić

Box Score:

https://www.aba-liga.com/match/120/21/1/Overview/q1/1/home/split-igokea-m-tel/ 

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Monday, 3 January 2022

KK Split Falls Short of a Sensation against Red Star Belgrade

January 3, 2022 - A basketball giant as an opponent, Hajduk Coach Valdas Dambrauskas as a special guest, and 1500 spectators at Gripe could not help KK Split on Sunday, currently the worst team in the league. However, hopes were high for a sensation in the 14th round game of the ABA League. 

Hajduk Split coach Valdas Dambrauskas was welcomed by KK Split director Edo Blažević who handed him a Jugoplastika Toni Kukoč jersey before tip-off.

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Understandably apart from the VIP guest, the fans were especially looking for support from the newly signed American Guard Shannon Shorter. The 32-year-old Texan recently joined KK Split as his 21st club in his 11th season as a professional athlete. The 193cm Combo Guard made a big difference to KK Split at both ends of the floor.

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However, even Shorter's 24 points, including several sensational crunch-time baskets, did not stop Split from being defeated by Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) 66:62 (16:9, 18:18, 15:15, 17:20). 

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The guests had entered the game much more aggressively and quickly secured a seven-point lead, but the "Yellows" were persistent; they came back repeatedly to keep the game close. The spectators created a great atmosphere at Gripe and witnessed an uncertain game outcome until the very end.  

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"We played an excellent game, a gentlemen's game.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough strength and quality to keep the points, but this game can guide how we can and should play. If we can play like this against Zvezda, then there will be no problems in the continuation of the season," said Split Head Coach Srdjan Subotic when analyzing the game. Regarding his new player, he added: "I don't like to judge good or bad based on one or two games, but if he is close to this level, we have certainly got the right player we need."

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Guest coach Dejan Radonjić was able to celebrate the 13th victory of the season and continues to lead the league. Ten of his twelve players scored; however, 11 points from Ivanović and 10 from White stood out for the only two who reached double figures.

Referees: Sašo Petek, Bojan Kruljac, Dragan Porobić 

Box score: https://www.aba-liga.com/match/92/21/1/Overview/q1/1/home/split-crvena-zvezda-mts/ 

All photos by Burak Canboy

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Friday, 12 November 2021

KK Split Celebrates 87:77 (38:33) Victory in ABA League

November 12, 2021 - Krka delivered a good fight, but Hasahn French's injury in the 3rd quarter helped bring KK Split the victory. 

KK Split started the game at the bottom of the ABA League table after seven completed games with only a single win so far against Cibona during their last encounter on October 31st. However, the victory was close and resolved only by a single point with 77:76 for the Yellows (and meant an impressive series of 10 consecutive wins against the team from Zagreb). Krka arrived in Split from Slovenia with three wins out of seven games, making them 10th in the table. Since all the guest’s wins were during their home games, KK Split hoped to make up some ground and establish a position in the race to stay in the league.

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Burak Canboy

The game went back and forth in the first minutes while both teams tried not to make too many mistakes and concentrated on their outside shooting. After a first 6:6 tie, both sides threw in two successful threes to tie the game again at 12:12 before home coach Srđan Subotić had his men defend much more aggressively and saw it rewarded with a 20:14 lead by the end of the first quarter. 

However, the guests from Novo Mesto, who are currently leading the Slovenian national league, did not give up and got back into the game and continued to do so every time that the Yellows seemed to pull away. 

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Burak Canboy

Krka coach Dalibor Damjanović lost his cool several times and was not happy with the referees' calls. Finally, in the third quarter, he was punished with a technical foul after seeing his star player Hasahn French being fouled and falling down hard. The center had to be escorted off the field injured and was not able to return. 

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Burak Canboy

Even without their big man, the team in green fought back again and stayed only a few possessions behind Split until the key moment of the game. Three and a half minutes to go at 75:73, a three-pointer by KK Split guard Barić then a steal followed by a fast-break lay-up for 5 points within just seconds first broke Krka's motivation two dunks by Bajo in the following two possessions broke their neck and sealed the victory.

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Burak Canboy

Despite Split scoring 25 points from turnovers and leading in most statistical categories, the game could have gone either way and was a very attractive game to watch. Instead, the spectators got to see plenty of dunks and good outside scoring with the better end for the home team. 

Six yellow players ended up scoring in double digits, led by Nejc Barič, who delivered a convincing game and shone in clutch situations. With 20 points and 10 assists, he was named Man of the Match. The top scorer for Krka was point-guard Stipčević, who had to play the entire 40 minutes, made 3 of his 4 three-point attempts, and totalled 19 points. 

Referees: Marko Juras, Dragan Porobić, Radoš Arsenijević

Box Score: https://www.aba-liga.com/match-live/50/21/1/Boxscore/q1/1/home/split-krka/ 

Thursday, 30 September 2021

ABA League: KK Split Loses to Partizan Belgrade 59:69 (24:38)

September 30, 2021 - Two losses for Split and two wins for Belgrade in their first games in the ABA League.

First Red Star then Cibona and now Partizan. You can call it a classic season opener for the "Yellows". While the first ABA league game in Belgrade did not go well, KK Split was able to beat Cibona Zagreb 73:62 at home to start the Premijer Liga on the right foot. 

Split's newly appointed head coach, former team captain and assistant coach Srđan Subotić, expects repeating good games on the home court, and most importantly a big step forward compared to the devastating 97:61 loss in the 1st round of ABA League against Red Star.

"Against Cibona, it was seen how much wind in our backs the return of fans in the bleachers gave us. We will get back at them, this is a derby, we are motivated and ready, we will do all to keep the points at home for our fans at home," were the Split coach's words before the game.

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Burak Canboy

At Gripe, the second game in the ABA league started slow for the home team, while legendary guest coach Željko Obradović saw his team take a 5:0 lead which Partizan was able to increase to 11:3 before Split got into the game and closed the first at 15:17 immediately after giving away their first lead of the match.

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Burak Canboy

A very low shooting percentage was the reason why KK Split lost control of the game during the second quarter and had to watch Belgrade score attack after attack to take a 38:24 lead at halftime.

Tonko Vuko's buzzer-beater to finish the third quarter 43:53 marked the only quarter Split was able to win (19:15) was also the signal for the "Yellows" to start the last effort to come back.

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Burak Canboy

Three three-pointers by Toni Perković gave Split some momentum and got the home crowd from their seats in the final quarter of the game. However, the routine of Belgrade was enough to regain control and safely take the points home. 

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Burak Canboy

Perković was the only player in double digits for Split (17), LeDay (15 points,  10 rebounds) and Smailagić (12 points) were the top scorers for Partizan Belgrade.

Referees: Igor Dragojević, Miloš Koljenšić, Ernad Karović

Box score:

https://www.aba-liga.com/match-live/8/21/1/Overview/q1/1/home/split-partizan-nis/

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

KK Split Stays in ABA League 1!

May 20, 2021 - KK Split leaves Sarajevo without a chance in the final relegation game for the ABA League 1 - 90:60 (47:26).

The third game of the ABA League had to bring the final decision after Spars Sarajevo surprised everyone with a close victory in the series opener at Gripe last week to put Split under pressure. The Yellows then had to win in Sarajevo on Saturday to keep their chances alive for another season in the 1st division. KK Split did tie the series with a strong appearance and followed up by winning the opener of the national playoff semi-finals on Tuesday against Cibona Zagreb.

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All eyes were on Spars' coach Modrag Kadija and his young talented squad to see if they could come up with a strategy to pull it off one more time against Split's large and experienced roster as a highly favored side. Big man and rising star Kenan Kamenjaš had to work hard for his 11 points tonight. 

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In Sarajevo and against Cibona the Yellows had massive support for their inside players from their outside shooters who displayed excellent marksmanship and pulled the opposite defenders far out of the zone to give the big men more space to play one on one. 

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Today it was team captain Mateo Kedzo who decided the game already in the first half by scoring 13 points in only 7 minutes and 23 seconds without missing any of his attempts. 

The experienced leaders Kedzo and Ulić gave the team the necessary self-confidence which they had lacked in game one. 

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With the large lead at half-time, Split coach Mile Karakaš was able to rotate all his players through in the second half and the team did not lose any tension. Split's talent Perković, Bajo, and Čampara kept scoring for the favored team to further increase the lead.

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The team was able to apologize for last week's loss to veteran Toni Kukoč who was honored before the game after having been nominated to join the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this week. 

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Not being able to close the series in two games now puts the Yellows into a tight schedule, however. The second game in the national semifinals will be played in Zagreb tomorrow. The hosts objected to giving Split an additional 24 hours to rest. Quite a remarkable show of sportsmanship or better the lack thereof. But with Split having gained this much momentum during the last 3 games, it may well prove to have been the wrong approach by Cibona. The game will start at 18:00 at Dražen Petrović Hall.

Referees: Saša Pukl, Sašo Petek, Mario Majkić

Boxscore: https://www.aba-liga.com/match/3/20/8/Overview/q1/1/home/split-spars/

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