Hajduk Split coach Valdas Dambrauskas was welcomed by KK Split director Edo Blažević who handed him a Jugoplastika Toni Kukoč jersey before tip-off.
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.
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).
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.
“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.”
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
All photos by Burak Canboy
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