In a battle of unbeatens, Power Electronics Valencia walked away from Triumph Lyubertsy with a 59-67 victory and claimed sole possession of first place in Group B at 3-0. Valencia used a 4-15 run bridging the end of the first period and the opening minutes of the second to open up a 14-point advantage. The visitors extended their lead to 24 by the end of 20 minutes by going on to outscore Triumph 9-29 over the course of the second quarter. But what looked like a blowout was anything but that. Triumph mounted a furious comeback attempt and completely dismantled the visitors by a partial of 24-4 in the third period to breath new life back into the contest. After Triumph tied the game at 56-56 with 4 minutes to go, Valencia turned to its young star, Nando de Colo, who scored 9 points down the stretch to win the game. De Colo and Matt Nielsen lead the winners with 13 points apiece while Rafa Martinez and Serhiy Lishchuk added 10 points each. Brion Rush had a game-high 17 points for Triumph, and Valery Likhodey chipped in with 14 points in the losing effort.
Triumph’s Konstantin Nesterov opened the scoring from the free throw line by drawing a quick foul from Kosta Perovic. Martinez and Perovic strung together a pair of field goals before Rush struck from downtown. Martinez found Matt Nielson for a layup, but Alexandr Bashminov answered with his first basket in the Eurocup for his new team. Victor Claver went 1-of-2 from the foul line, and Lishchuk added 2 more the next trip down for Valencia. Nesterov hit back with a dunk, and moments later newly signed center Aleksandar Bashminov scored a 2-plus-1 to tie the game at 11-11. Lishchuk and Bashminov traded slams for their sides, but Marko Marinovic sent Valencia into the second period holding a 13-17 lead with a three-pointer. Claver and Lishchuk rolled off 4 points before Nesterov put back an offensive board. Marinovic kept Valencia rolling by draining his second three-pointer, and Claver game the visitors a 15-26 lead with a layup. Triumph called consecutive timeouts to try and break Valencia’s momentum but to no avail as Martinez nailed a three for the 14-point lead. Bashminov finally scored for Triumph with a dunk. Rush followed with a field goal, but Martinez countered with a two-pointer after a Valencia timeout and Thomas Kelati added a three-pointer moments later. Lishchuk and Nando De Colo hit back-to-back triples to send Valencia into the break up 22-46.
Rush hit a three-pointer and on the very next possession the Triumph guard assisted Likhodey for another long-range bomb to start the second half. Likhodey added a layup to cap the quick 8-0 burst for the hosts before Perovic hit a free throw. The defenses then clamped down and neither team could buy bucket. Rush eventually drained a three to get Triumph going again and Likhodey added a layup plus foul before Nielsen scored a two-pointer, 36-49. Rush made a bucket and moments later added a pair of free throws to get the lead down to single digits. Andrey Mateyunas and Sergey Varlamov each scored inside, Nielsen went 1-of-2 from the line, but Mayetunas made another layup to reduce the deficit to just 46-50 after three quarters. Nielsen hit a pair of free throws to begin the fourth quarter. Varlamov and Nielsen then traded field goals before Likhodey dropped a three-pointer to shrink the deficit to just 3 points. Nielsen, staying aggressive, hit inside, but Rush immediately responded with a layup. Both teams went cold till, with four minutes to play, Pavel Sergeev tied the game 56-56 on a three-pointer. De Colo made a pair of free throws and then added a layup to give Valencia a 2-point lead heading into the final two minutes. Claver made 2 foul shots before De Colo then hit a huge three to open up a 56-65 lead before Nesterov also scored from behind the arc, but by then it was too little, too late for Triumph.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009