Baskonia holds off Langford, Panathinaikos
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz led from start to finish and snapped its three-game losing streak by holding off visiting Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 86-77 at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday. It was the first victory for head coach Velimir Perasovic in his third coaching stint on the bench of Baskonia, which improved to 3-6 on the season, while Panathinaikos dropped to 5-4. Baskonia entered the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead, but the unstoppable Keith Langford single-handedly brought Panathinaikos back to life, before the hosts held on. Tornike Shengelia paced the winners with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, while Langford scored 33 points in a losing effort.
Shengelia was everywhere early and his 7 consecutive points opened a 12-4 lead. DeShaun Thomas hit a triple before Langford had a three-point play, but Shengelia and Vincent Poirier extended the lead to 20-12 at the end of the first quarter. A corner triple from Luca Vildoza made it 23-14 early in the second, but Nikos Pappas had a triple and a three-point play for the visitors. Pappas nailed another jumper and Ian Vougioukas scored 6 points to get Panathinaikos within 31-30. However, Johannes Voigtmann and Jayson Granger hit back-to-back jumpers, before Matt Janning knocked down a triple to cap a 9-0 Baskonia run. Janning added a three-point play to help make it 44-32 at halftime. To start the third quarter, Langford hit a three-point shot and added a basket-plus-free throw before Granger and Stephane Lasme traded threes to make it 50-43. A three-pointer from Vildoza restored a double-digit lead at 60-47, but Langford remained in a groove and kept attacking the basket, keeping the visitors within reach. Darrun Hilliard scored on 2 tough layups and a three-point play to give the hosts a 73-55 advantage at the end of three quarters. Langford got hot again at the start of the fourth and scored 15 points in 7 minutes to get Panathinaikos within 81-75. But Janning knocked down a triple and the hosts did not allow another field goal the rest of the way, preserving the victory.
Fueled by Shengelia
Tornike Shengelia was Baskonia's fuel in this game, and he set the tone from the get-go with an amazing first quarter in which he had his hands in every single Baskonia point. He scored 11 points himself and assisted each of Baskonia's 4 field goals in the first quarter, which Baskonia finished with a 20-12 lead.
Panathinaikos entered this game as the third-best offensive rebounding team in the competition, averaging 12.3 per game. Nonetheless, the Greens had only 1 offensive rebound in the first half and finished the night with a season-low of 5. Baskonia had 11 offensive rebounds and a 32-23 overall rebounding advantage.
Good ol' Keith Langford
The two-time EuroLeague Alphonso Ford Top Scorer had the third-highest scoring output of his EuroLeague career. The 35-year old guard scored 33 points, just 3 shy of his career-high, and only 1 point below Alexey Shved's 34 this season, highest in the competition. He was particularly lethal inside the arc, making 8 of 10 two-pointers for the night. He nailed 2 of 5 from long range, while drawing 9 fouls and sinking 11 of 14 free throws.
Movers and shakers
Baskonia had six scorers in double figures. In addition to Shengelia, Matt Janning and Darrun Hilliard scored 12 apiece, Jayson Granger had 11, while Vincent Poirier collected 10 points and 9 rebounds. Luca Vildoza also scored 10. Nikos Pappas was the only other double-digit scorer for Panathinaikos, with 16 points.
Both teams will be on the road next week in Round 10. Baskonia visits Anadolu Efes Istanbul (7-2) while Panathinaikos travels to play Khimki Moscow Region (3-6).
Friday, November 23, 2018