Mega MIS basketball players, as part of their preparations for the 2023/24 season, hosted the Romanian champions U-BT Cluj at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall and suffered a defeat after a great battle with a final score of 77:83 (23:32, 11:22, 16:12, 27:17). The guests built a lead with excellent three-point shooting in the first two quarters, then maintained a significant advantage in the third, but Marko Barać’s team tightened their defense in time and began to narrow the gap, coming within just one possession in the closing moments. However, the Romanian team held on in the final seconds and secured the victory.

Nikola Topić had a brilliant game for Mega, coming close to a triple-double performance with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists, finishing as the most valuable player on the court with a PIR of 34. He was well-supported by Omercan Ilyasoglu with 18 points and five assists, and Andrija Jelavić, who, like Topić, recorded a double-double with 13 points and rebounds each (index 20).

Cluj had a fantastic start to the game, with their three-point shooting clicking, as they made seven three-pointers out of nine attempts in just 10 minutes, giving them a nine-point lead before the first break (32:23). The guests continued their strong play after returning to the court, and Mega struggled to find their rhythm in offense, trailing by 20 points at halftime (34:54).

Cluj opened the third quarter with seven consecutive points, taking a 61:34 lead, but that’s when Mega MIS started to wake up. They closed the quarter with a 16:5 run and continued their excellent performance on both ends of the court in the decisive quarter. Mega’s defense, in particular, was at a high level, and they gradually chipped away at the opponent’s lead. With 13 seconds left, the scoreboard read 77:80, but the young Barać’s team didn’t have the strength for a complete comeback. Cluj managed to withstand Mega’s final push from the free-throw line, and Mega had a chance to reduce the deficit to just one point with a long-range shot in the closing seconds, but the ball didn’t go through the hoop, and the Romanian team emerged victorious.

Mega MIS: Jelavić 13 (13 rebounds, PIR 20), Topić 20 (11 rebounds, 7 assists, PIR 34), Miljenović 6, Kobzistyi 8, Ilyasoglu 18 (5 assists), Kovačević 3, Jović 4, Malovec 1, Paunović, Milutinović, Plavšić 4

Cluj: Guzman 16, Mejeris 1, Lapuste 3, Roschnafsky, Seeley 19, Petrić, Stipanović 8, Cate 2, Maciuca 5, Eddie 11, Jones 7, Richard 11

After two games against the University of Southern California team in Mykonos, Mega MIS convincingly defeated OKK Belgrade during their preparations for the 2023/24 season in Serbia. They then defeated Igokea at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall. Before the start of the ABA Super Cup (from September 18 to 20), Marko Barać’s team has more tests ahead, including a match against Spartak Office Shoes on September 12, also at the Ranko Žeravica Sports Hall.

Photo: Mega MIS