On Wednesday evening, Marcus Paige and Luke Maye faced off against one another in the EuroCup in Trento, Italy. Paige’s KK Partizan travelled to play Luke Maye’s Dolomiti Energia Trento.
Paige is now in his third season in Belgrade, Serbia. He was well known for his scoring during his days at UNC, especially from deep and not much has changed. Paige is averaging 10 PPG in the EuroCup and leading the team in 3 point fields goals made per game.
I spoke to Marcus to see how he was feeling ahead of the game against Luke:
“Just talked to Luke tonight before our practice. Today was my first 5v5 in a few weeks, I hurt my calf but I think I am going to try and play tomorrow. Should be fun.”Marcus Paige
Luke Maye is in his first season playing overseas for Dolomotti Energia Trento. Maye has taken well to basketball across the pond and is averaging 11.5 PPG and 6.58 RPG in EuroCup action. Luke was also awarded MVP of the Week in the EuroCup in January.
KK Partizan and Dolomiti Energia Trento both have an 8-6 record in the EuroCup and both teams could still qualify for the next stages of the tournament. In fact, all the teams in Group F could qualify for the Quarter Finals with all four spots being interchangeable. The last time these two faced each other, Partizan took the win with a 71-43 victory.
Paige missed his last game due to a calf injury and hasn’t played since February 13th. Maye however has been Trento’s leading scorer in the past three games.
Paige and Maye started the game for their respective teams in EuroCup action in a game that was pretty close throughout the first half. Partizan were missing two key players on their trip to Italy and recently lost the team’s leading scorer, Codi Miller-McIntyre (Wake Forest), last week with him signing for JL Bourg in France.
Maye started the game strong with some good offensive work, his first field goal of the night was from the left elbow… oh how we remember his shooting from there! Paige struggled to really get going in the first half for Partizan, with the exception of a play that saw Paige threading a beautiful pass for the assist.
The storyline of the first half was defence with both teams working hard on the defensive end with some great pressure. Partizan were out rebounding Trento in the first half, but still Trento led 29-28 in a low scoring half.
Cue “Second Half Paige”… the second half starts with Paige opening the scoring with his first points from behind the arc. Sadly, for Partizan that was really all they had to cheer about in the third quarter because Trento went into cruise control and took an 18 point lead.
Multiple times on Wednesday evening, Trento’s defence was so strong that Partizan could not get a shot up before the 24 seconds ran out, causing multiple turnovers. Partizan started to give their fans a little bit of hope in the fourth going on a small run, but Trento’s timeout was called and then that run soon trickled out. Partizan’s shots were just not falling with them ending the game with just 21 from 60 field goal attempts.
Jacorey Williams for Trento was my Player of the Game, the former Arkansas man led Trento with 16 points (8/11) and was a force to be reckoned with inside. Rashawn Thomas led Partizan with 17 points, but it was not going to be enough.
Trento continued their offensive run in the second half and finished the game with a 69-54 victory over Partizan. Maye ended the game with 9 points and 6 boards for his winning side. Paige recorded 5 points and 3 assists which was a tough outing for the weakened Serbian team. That will be the last time Marcus Paige and Luke Maye face against each other this year, with them both sharing the wins this season.
It was great to hear that Marcus and Luke caught up before the game. It’s often highlighted in the NBA that former Tar Heels show love to one another, on and off the court. It is good for everyone to know that this is happening overseas as well, never underestimate how strong this Carolina family is!
Keep an eye out on more recaps of the Tar Heels playing basketball overseas, following on from my latest update on the Tar Heels in Europe.