Iurbentia Bilbao led from start to finish but needed a 16-4 fourth quarter run to put away Artland Dragons 71-62 in the Group L opener for both teams on Tuesday in Spain. Bilbao led by 17 points in the first half but saw Artland pull within two points after a 2-11 surge spanning the final two quarters. Bilbao, however, scored 16 of the next 20 points, including a 10-0 run, to put the game out of reach. Drago Pasalic collected 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks to lead Bilbao, which has not lost yet in the Eurocup, its first-ever European competition. Renaldas Seibutis added 13 points for the winners. Javi Salgado scored all 7 of his points in the fourth quarter. The German side Artland was paced by Lamont McIntosh with 15 points and Will Blalock scored 10. Darren Fenn and Adam Hess combined for 13 points as they made just 4 of 24 shots total. Artland worked hard in the second half to get back in the game by focusing on rebounding. Early in the second half, Bilbao had already grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and was out-rebounding Dragons 30-13. But the difference was just 42-34 in the end.
Pasalic started in superb form, scoring the first 6 points for Bilbao and again as the hosts surged ahead 12-2. Seibutis's third basket made it 16-6 but McIntosh hit a lay-up and three-pointer to trim the margin to 17-11. Pasalic connected again and Damir Markota's foul shot gave Bilbao a 22-12 lead after one period. Dirk Madrich's free throw started the second quarter and McIntosh cut the deficit to 24-15. But Predrag Savovic and Paco Vazquez connected on back-to-back three-pointers to force an Artland timeout at 30-15. Markota's offensive rebound and put-back gave Bilbao its biggest lead of the game at 32-15 after the timeout. Drew Neitzel's three-point shot trimmed the gap to 32-21 only to see Seibutis push it back to 36-22. McIntosh drained another long ball and Neitzel scored the final four points of the half as Artland was within 40-31 at the break.
Chad Prewitt opened the third period with a triple and Hess's three-point shot made it 42-39. But Janis Blums converted a lay-up and, after a McIntosh turnover, also nailed a three-pointer. Pasalic hit another basket and it was 50-39 after Seibutis's free throw. Artland had a run left, however, as Tyray Pearson scored two baskets down the stretch, including a put-back of an offensive rebound to make it 50-45 after three periods. Artland started the fourth quarter with 2 turnovers but did not get punished as Bilbao missed 2 three-pointers. Madrich hit the first basket of the period and McIntosh's triple brought Artland within 52-50, completing a 2-11 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. Dragons had a chance to tie the game but McIntosh turned the ball over and Luke Recker nailed a three-pointer. Fenn answered with an offensive rebound put-back. And after Salgado knocked down a triple, Madrich made it 58-54. Luke Recker scored again and following an Artland timeout Neitzel turned the ball over and Quincy Lewis and Salgado combined for 6 foul shots and Markota's dunk finished off the 10-0 run for a 68-54 advantage. Blalock hit two baskets to cut the margin to nine points but Artland would not get closer the rest of the way.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009