Buducnost holds off Ulm 79-86
Buducnost VOLI Podgorica had a strong start in the 7DAYS EuroCup, beating ratiopharm Ulm 79-86 on the road on Wednesday. The hosts built a 19-15 lead after 7 minutes thanks to an array of threes, but the visitors reacted quickly with a 0-11 run to take the reins, 21-26, at the end of the first quarter. Another 0-12 run boosted by Jacob Wiley and Willie Reed after halftime set a game-high 19-point advantage for Buducnost, but Ulm fought back and managed to get as close as 79-82 entering the last minute. A three-pointer missed by Per Guenther prevented the home team from completing the comeback and Justin Cobbs took advantage of that to put the game on ice with a jumper with 33 seconds to go. Cobbs led all scorers with 18 points, to which he added 6 assists for a PIR of 23. He found great help from Wiley and Dennis Seeley, who contributed 16 and 15 respectively. Reed was 1 rebound shy of a double-double as he posted 11 points and 9 boards for the winners. Jaron Blossomgame led the pace for Ulm with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Semaj Christon chipped in 14, Cristiano Felicio added 12 and Thomas Klepeisz provided 11 in the losing effort.
An early triple by Christon and a fastbreak dunk by Felicio granted the hosts a quick 7-2 lead. Cobbs took over for the visitors as he strung together 3 free throws and a three-pointer to make it 10-8. He fed Micov later for another triple that put Buducnost in front for the first time, 10-11. Christon, Klepeisz and Blossongame joined from downtown for Ulm to recover a 19-15 edge after 7 minutes. A 0-11 run in which Buducnost had four different scorers allowed the guests to close the first quarter comfortably in charge, 21-26.
Igor Drobnjak extended it to 23-31 with 5 points in a row early in the second quarter and that difference remained for a while as the squads traded baskets. Felicio and Reed answered each other in the paint twice before Seeley scored to enlarge the margin to 31-40 midway through the second. An Ulm timeout didn’t stop the guests from grabbing a double-digit lead, 34-44, but the home team managed to reduce it to just 41-45 after Klepeisz buried a three entering the last minute. A timely answer from the same distance by Cobbs helped Buducnost abort the rally and reach halftime ahead 41-48.
Wiley opened fire with a powerful baseline dunk right after the break and struck again later with a fastbreak layup to rebuild a double-digit advantage, 45-56, early in the second half. Jaka Lakovic tried to rearrange his team with an urgent timeout, but Reed and Wiley were dominant inside. Eight points in a row coming from the Buducnost frontcourt completed a 0-12 run and extended the gap to 45-64. Guenther ended the drought with a three, Klepeisz added free throws and Phillip Herkenhoff added another three to keep the hosts breathing, 53-66. Although Marko Jagodic-Kuridza showed up from the corner with a three to hold off Ulm, 5 points in a row by Christoph Phillips kept the home team still in the game, 58-69, entering the last quarter.
Phillips hit again and Herkenhoff and Blossongame helped Ulm reduce the margin to single-digits, 63-71, with 8 minutes to go, but a tap-in by Wiley and a tough turnaround jumper by Seeley avoided a bigger rally. Seeley kept rocking and drained a triple and 3 free throws to make it 69-81 with 5 minutes to go. The hosts hadn’t said their last word, though, as Blossongame sparked a 10-0 run in 3 minutes that put the game on the line. Guenther had a chance to tie it, but he missed from downtown entering the last minute. Then Cobbs took over with a mid-range jumper and Wiley added free throws that cooled it down and allowed the visitors to escape with a victory.
Cobbs hits the key shot
Justin Cobbs was not only Buducnost VOLI Podgorica’s best scorer and performer with 18 points and 23 PIR on Wednesday, but also the go-to guy when ratiopharm Ulm rallied back and almost erased a 19-point deficit late in the fourth quarter. With the score 79-82, Cobbs decided to take over and dropped a nice and decisive mid-range jumper with 33 seconds to go that ended a 10-0 Ulm run and sealed the outcome for his team. Despite having 10 points in the first quarter and 14 at halftime, Cobbs was scoreless in the final stanza until his team needed a cold-blooded leader to save the day.
Buducnost dominated inside
The Montenegrin champs outrebounded ratiopharm Ulm 25-38, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds compared to 19 defensive boards by the hosts. That proved a very important weapon for Buducnost, as it turned them into 19 second-chance points - against 9 by Ulm. In the inside battle, Jacob Wiley and Willie Reed prevailed. The former finished with 16 points and secured a pair of free throws to close the game, as the latter was close to a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds. They combined for all the Buducnost points in a 0-12 run in the third quarter that built a 45-64 advantage that Ulm could never recover.
Ulm’s second unit sparked the rally
When everything seemed to be lost for the home side, trailing by 19 points midway through the third quarter, Ulm found an unexpected answer off the bench. Thomas Klepeisz and Christoph Phillips showed up to rescue their team and keep it breathing. Klepeisz drew an unsportsmanlike foul that turned into a couple of free throws first and then drained a three to make it 53-66. Phillips joined later with 7 points in a row bridging the third and the four quarters to reduce the deficit to single-digits, 60-69. Although Ulm couldn’t complete the comeback, being able to rally and get as close as 79-82 in crunch time was much owed to its second unit.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021