Montenegro escapes Macedonia

Tyrese Rice drove to the basket and drew a foul with aobut 10 seconds left. His two free throws completed a comeback and secured Montenegro a 81-80 win. Well, maybe that did not secure it. Maybe — maybe — a basket interference on the ensuing play did that.

Bo McCalebb dominated the game for Macedonia as the crossover, penetrating point guard. He got to the basket once again using his blinding speed but missed a layup. Gjorgji Chekovsky tipped the miss shot toward the net and missed. However it seemed a Montenegrin player has gotten his hand trapped in the net. The rim was shaking. No basket interference was called.

Montenegro 81, Macedonia 80.

That is how these tournaments go. But Macedonia failed to put the game away, allowing Montenegro to go on a 13-4 run to end the game.

This was a game that was back and forth with McCalebb (23 points, 9-for-18 shooting) and Rice (16 points, 5 assists) trading baskets. Whenever Macedonia seemed set to go on a run in the second half, Montenegro found an answer.

Nikola Vucevic was extremely limited for Montenegro. He played in only 14 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing two rebounds. The matchup dictated some of this. Macedonia had jumpshooting centers and kept them largely on the perimeter to keep the lane open for McCalebb.

Vucevic got some post looks and drew some fouls, withstanding some physical play from Macedonia. Defensively he blocked a layup right at the rim. But otherwise seemed to be taken out of position by the perimeter nature of the forwards he was guarding or in trying to help out on penetration or get blocks.

It was hard to gauge much of anything from Vucevic in this game other than that he has the same skills he had last year — lots of patience in the post and good instinct on the pick and roll. He has added some strength, but it is too hard to tell with how limited his role was in this game.

Hopefully, Montenegro will increase his workload as the tournament goes on and Vucevic gets his chance to show his nation what he can do.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily