Olimpija stays perfect at home after battle with Bourg
Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana remained perfect at home this season in the 7DAYS EuroCup by winning a battle against JL Bourg en Bresse 94-91. Jaka Blazic was unstoppable with 30 points while Mikael Hopkins and Jarrod Jones both scored 16 points and Kendrick Perry collected 14 points, 8 assists and 3 steals. Olimpija improved to 7-0 at Arena Stozice in the competition and reached the halfway point of the Top 16 at 2-1 in Group G. Danilo Andjusic tried to keep pace with Blazic with 25 points while Maxime Courby had 15 points, Pierre Pelos 14 and Ivan Buva 12. But those performances were not enough as Bourg dropped to 0-3 in the group.
Perry opened the game with a three-point play for the hosts with Andjusic answering with a three-pointer. Jones and Blazic hit from deep for the hosts, who moved ahead 13-6. But Bourg responded with a 0-11 run over nearly 3 minutes to take a 13-17 lead. Olimpija countered with an 11-2 surge, including 6 points from Blazic for a 24-19 margin, which was 24-21 after 10 minutes. Hugo Benitez opened the scoring in the second quarter from deep and was matched by Jones. Trailing 28-24, Luka Asceric and Andjusic bookended a 0-11 surge with triples for a 28-35 cushion. It was Olimpija’s turn for a run with Hopkins and Blazic combining for 11 points in a 14-2 spurt for a 42-37 margin. Both teams took several trips to the free-throw line as it stayed close before Blazic’s buzzer-beater three-pointer gave the hosts a 55-51 lead at the break.
Blazic nailed another three-pointer to start the second half and Perry made it 60-51. Bourg made good adjustments and Andjusic and Courby both hit from deep in a 4-15 run to move ahead 65-66. Olimpija answered with the next 5 points, but Pelos drained a three-pointer and Bourg was up 70-71 after 30 minutes. Blazic’s free throws to start the final frame put the hosts back up and it was tied 75-75 after Jones and Courby swapped triples. Buva made it 75-77. Olimpija tried to deliver the knockout punch from the outside as Blazic, Rion Brown and Luka Rupnik all drained three-pointers in a 13-2 run as the advantage grew to 88-79 with 4 minutes left. Bourg would not go away with Andjusic and Pelos hitting triples to pull within 90-87. After Blazic committed an offensive foul with 38 seconds left, Pelos’s floater trimmed it to 92-91 with 19 seconds remaining. Hopkins countered twice from the free-throw line with 13 ticks to play. The hosts only secured the win when Andjusic missed his three-point attempt.
The Jaka Blazic show
Jaka Blazic put on quite a show as the Slovenian international connected on 8 of 13 shots, including 5 of 8 three-pointers as well as 9 of 10 free throws for his 30 points - which were 3 shy of his personal EuroCup record. He also grabbed 7 rebounds, dished out 4 assists and had 11 fouls drawn for a new personal-best index rating mark of 41.
The game was historic as it was Bourg’s first visit to Slovenia for an official game. The French club is making its EuroCup debut this season as well as its maiden international journey.
Olimpija took the rebounding battle 32 to 23, including 8 offensive rebounds. Bourg shot 60.0% on two-pointers and 39.4% from the outside, but Olimpija was just a little bit better - converting on 68.7% and 41.9%, respectively.
These two teams will face off again in Round 4 when Bourg hosts Olimpija on Wednesday, February 3.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021