Brodziansky paces Joventut's 73-87 win at Wroclaw
Despite missing its veteran leaders, Joventut Badalona kept pace with the Group A leaders by fending off host Slask Wroclaw for a 73-87 road win on Wednesday. Joventut improved to 6-2 to enter a first-place tie heading into 2022 with fellow group leaders Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Partizan NIS Belgrade. Slask fell to 1-7 despite fighting back from 15-point deficits to lead after three quarters. Vladimir Brodziansky poured in a career-high 29 points to lead Joventut. Andres Feliz and Joel Parra added 13 and 12 points off the bench while Simon Birgander scored 12 to go with 14 rebounds. For Slask, Jakub Karolak drilled 6 three-pointers on the way to 27 points. Travis Trice followed him with 14 points and Aleksander Dziewa added 11.
Kodi Justice hit from deep for an early 3-2 lead by the hosts but Guillem Vives answered with 5 points while Brodziansky and Birgander scored, too, forcing an early Slask timeout at 3-9. Brodziansky kept it going and Feliz scored on a steal at 3-15 before Dziewa put back Slask's first offensive board to end a five-minute scoring drought. Karolak's first triple steadied the hosts but they couldn't stop Brodziansky's hook shot and his transition triple preceded Lukasz Kolenda's to end the quarter at 13-22 for the visitors.
Karolak's jumper and triple got Slask back within 18-22 to start the second quarter. Feliz answered in kind twice, though, for a new double-digit lead, and when Birgander turned a miss into a three-point play, Joventut was up 18-31. Only Brodziansky could make anything but free throws for a while as the lead broadened to 23-37 before Kerem Kanter scored his first points on a putback. Trice came through with the next 4 points to make it 29-37. Joventut went back to Brodziansky while Karolak and Trice each struck from deep for Slask's lowest deficit in some time, 35-40, at halftime.
Karolak's fourth triple opened the second half and another from Trice soon made it 41.42. Parra and Dziewa traded inside baskets before Karola stole and finished for Slask's first lead in more than 20 minutes, 45-44. Birgander inside and Parra from deep restored Joventut's advantage at 47-51, but Dziewa flipped the scoreboard with the next 4 points. Albert Ventura and Karolak hit shots in the lane, changing the lead twice again, as did Birgander's tip-in and Karolak's fifth triple at 57-55. Pep Busquets and Justice traded threes before Brodziansky hit 3 of 3 free throws at 60-62. Kolenda joined the fun with a banked-in three-pointer and Birgander spun on the baseline for a game-tying dunk before Karolak's free throw left Slask in front, 64-63, after 30 minutes.
Parra and Busquets both went deep to open the fourth quarter with Joventut surging ahead, 64-69. Kanter's free throws were bettered by Feliz, from distance, and Brodziansky finished a break at 66-74. Karolak stepped up with his sixth three-pointer for Slask but Parra soon got loose for another easy layup at 69-76 with 5 minutes left. Almost 2 more minutes passed when Feliz fed Ventura for a triple to restore a double-digit lead, 69-79, that finished the suspense and assured Joventut would go home the victor. Joventut would keep scoring and finish a 9-24 quarter sharing first place in Group A.
Pivotal performer: Joventut's Vladimir Brodziansky
With veteran leaders Pau Ribas and Ante Tomic left home in Spain, someone needed to show the way for an otherwise young Joventut Badalona team on Wednesday, and that someone became clear right away. Forward Vladimir Brodziansky made his first 6 shots of the game, finishing the first quarter with 13 points, as Joventut raced out to double-digit leads.
Brodziansky never stopped scoring in his nearly 37 minutes on the floor and finished with 29, the most by a Joventut player in the EuroCup this season or last. What's more, his 10 two-pointers in 15 tries were the most made by a Joventut player in more than 17 years, since Jamie Arnold had the same number on December 7, 2004.
Slask returned to a historic arena
Wednesday's game marked Slask Wroclaw's return to one of European basketball's most historic arenas, Centennial Hall, 17 years after its last game was played there. Originally called the People's Hall and opened in 1913, the arena has the distinction of being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. That was just two years after Slask played its last game there on December 18, 2004, after it had been the club's main court for most of its 17 national league titles between 1965 and 2002. A renovation has now brought back the 10,000-seat arena to its rightful place at the heart of basketball in Poland.
Telling numbers: Joventut ruled on the boards
It was obvious when Joventut Badalona took the first 9 boards of the game on Slask Wroclaw's home floor that rebounds could be decisive, and they were. Vladimir Brodziansky helped early with 3 of those, but 24-year-old center Simon Birgander took over from there for the visitors, finishing with 14 on the night, matching second-most ever pulled in a EuroCup game by a Joventut player. The great Zan Tabak has the club record of 17 and pulled 14 twice, as did Antonio Bueno. However, not since the last of their four occasions, on January 13, 2004, had anyone in a Joventut uniform brought down 14 boards.
Slask won the middle quarters of the game and led going into the fourth, 64-63, in large part by evening out the rebounding battle. But with the game on the line, Joventut went back to dominating and finished with a 29-43 advantage overall and one of 10-16 on the offensive glass. A 1.91-meter guard, Alber Ventura, was responsible for 10 other rebounds, 3 more than any single player on Slask.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021