For a team that began this season's EuroCup with three defeats on the trot, BC Zadar are looking pretty dangerous right about now.
They hit back to qualify for Round II with three consecutive victories, and despite falling in their Group K opener last week, they rebounded in style with a 78-62 triumph over Dexia-Mons-Hainaut on Tuesday evening.
If anything, it seems, Zadar get stronger after losses. They will fancy their chances of at least making it to the quarter-finals.
Zadar, who lost at Lokomotiv Rostov last week, returned home and showed a lot more fight on the boards by out-rebounding their visitors from Belgium 32-22.
|Kevin Houston had 18 points in a losing cause for Dexia|
They were also rewarded for their determination to take the ball inside. Zadar drew foul after foul by the Dexia defence, which allowed the hosts to make frequent trips to the line where they sank 21 of 29 (72.4%) attempts, compared to just eight of 18 (44.4%) for Dexia, who looked a shadow of the side that whipped Slask Wroclaw last time out.
Leading 17-16 late in the opening quarter, Zadar earned three straight trips to the charity stripe with Frano Colak and Pankracije Barac combining to make six consecutive free throws.
A Dean Oliver jump shot right at the end of the opening period gave Zadar a 25-18 advantage.
After Dexia closed to 27-23 early in the second quarter, Zadar went on another mini-spurt.
Todor Gecevski made a pair of free throws and scored on a lay-up before Barac added a strong move and, as he was fouled on the play, sank the free throw for a 34-23 lead.
Zadar played like they had the wind in their sails and started to pull away. When Gecevski made a three-pointer to take his haul to 12 points, 3:44 remained in the first half and Zadar had a 42-26 lead.
There was no coming back by the Belgians.
Sinisa Stemberger would end up leading Zadar with 19 points while Gecevski finished with 15 and eight rebounds.
All is not lost for Dexia, who got 18 points from Kevin Houston. Zadar host Slask on January 10, when the EuroCup Round II resumes, while Dexia will be at home to face Lokomotiv Rostov.