Valencia became the first team to advance to the Eurocup final by downing Lietuvos Rytas 80-70
Valencia Basket has reached the Eurocup title game! Valencia became the first team to advance to the Eurocup final by downing Lietuvos Rytas 80-70 in the first semifinal in Khimki, Russia on Saturday. Valencia kept the chance to become the first team to get a third Eurocup title after winning the competition in 2003 and 2010. Meanwhile, L. Rytas lost the chance to get to the Eurocup final for the fourth time in club history. Brad Newley and Nik Caner-Medley led the winners with 12 points. Vitor Faverani, Victor Claver and Nando De Colo each added 10 for Valencia. Steponas Babrauskas led L. Rytas with 21 points - his new Eurocup career-high. Ronnie Seibutis added 15 and Lawrence Roberts beat a Eurocup semifinals record with 6 blocks. Rafa Martinez, Claver and Caner-Medley shined early to make Valencia get a 17-7 lead. An outstanding Faverani helped his team to get a 14-point margin, 29-15, after 10 minutes. A dunk by Florent Pietrus made it a 16-point game, 39-23, but Roberts and Babrauskas made L. Rytas get within 42-32 at halftime. Newley took over after the break to boost Valencia's lead to 58-38 late in the third quarter. Seibutis and an incredible Babrauskas managed to bring L. Rytas within 69-63 but De Colo stepped up in crunch time to keep Valencia out of trouble until the final buzzer.
Martinez needed just 8 seconds to get Valencia going with a three-pointer, as L. Rytas tried to get Jonas Valanciunas involved down low early in the game. Valanciunas hit free throws but a red hot Martinez answered from downtown for a 6-2 Valencia lead. L. Rytas kept playing aggressive, forcing Valencia into the foul bonus really early in the first quarter. Aleksandar Rasic found space for an uncontested basket that Faverani erased with a layup. Mindaugas Katelynas split free throws but Claver scored in the low post to keep his team way ahead, 10-5. Katelynas kept pacing L. Rytas with a dunk that Caner-Medley bettered with a triple. L. Rytas also entered the foul bonus and free throws by Claver and Caner-Medley made it a double-digit game, 17-7. Tyrese Rice hit foul shots and Roberts followed a layup with a two-handed dunk to make Valencia call timeout at 20-13. Newley stepped up with a layup-plus-foul and Pietrus matched Katelynas' power basket with free throws. A fast break basket by Caner-Medley and a long jumper by Faverani boosted Valencia's lead to 29-15 after 10 minutes.
Rice tried to change things with a floating layup early in the second quarter but Faverani quickly answered with a smooth jump hook. L. Rytas tried to use shorter
possessions to speed up the game tempo but Valencia kept locking its defensive board. Rice scored in transition and soon added a driving layup but Pietrus and Newley
answered with back-to-back three-pointers that made it a 16-point game, 37-21. Predrag Samardziski made free throws but Pietrus found space for an uncontested dunk.
Babrauskas and Rice split foul shots, as L. Rytas improved its defense midway through the second quarter. Babrauskas shined with a backdoor layup, as Rice
briefly the game with a small knee problem. Valencia had been scoreless for more than 3 minutes and a mid-range jumper by Rasic gave L. Rytas some hope at 39-29. Claver and Babrauskas traded free throws and Seibutis brought L. Rytas within single digits, 40-32, after an 1-9 run. A driving layup by Stefan Markovic gave Valencia some fresh air, 42-32, at halftime.
Valenciunas picked up his fourth immediately after the break, forcing L. Rytas head coach Aleksandar Dzikic to change his game plan. Seibutis downed a long jumper that De Colo erased with a quick basket. Newley buried his second three-pointer and Claver fed Faverani for a fast break dunk that made it a 15-point game, 49-34. Arturas Jomantas tried to ignite L. Rytas' comeback with an easy basket but Newley banked in a running jumper. Roberts shined with a power layup, as the game turned into a physical battle. Markovic stepped up with a jumper and free throws by an unstoppable Newley restored a 16-point Valencia margin, 54-38. Markovic nailed a three-pointer and a free throw by Pietrus capped a 7-0 Valencia run, 58-38. Valanciunas took over with a big basket but fouled out right after that. Serhiy Lishchuk hit foul shots - his first points - but Seibutis matched it with a driving layup and added free throws. Valencia had started to use long possessions to run game the clock down, as Babrauskas and Seibutis managed to bring L. Rytas within 61-48 after 30 minutes.
Seibutis stayed on fire with a backdoor layup early in the fourth quarter, giving L. Rytas some hope at 61-50. Caner-Medley stepped up with a six-meter shot that Babrauskas erased with a layup in transition. Caner-Medley split free throws but Babrauskas brought L. Rytas a bit closer, 64-54. Roberts had his fifth block - breaking a Eurocup semifinals record - and a three-pointer by Babrauskas made it a seven-point game, 64-57. Claver stepped up with a fadeaway jumper that a red hot Babrauskas - who else? - bettered with a rainbow triple that forced Valencia to stop the game, 66-60, with 6 minutes left. Claver answered from downtown but Babrauskas split free throws on Lishchuk's fifth foul and soon kept L. Rytas within 69-63. De Colo joined the three-point shootout and a free throw by Markovic sealed the outcome, 73-63, with over 3 minutes to go. De Colo banked in a close shot and even when Seibutis nailed a corner triple, it was already too little, too late for L. Rytas, as all valencia fans were already celebrating a historical win!
Saturday, April 14, 2012