Joventut won group again, 12 years later

Dec 31, 2020 by Print
Joventut won group again, 12 years later

It was a do-or-die battle for first place in 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season Group A. Joventut Badalona gave JL Bourg en Bresse no chance, however, dominating the game from start to finish and recording a 90-75 victory to finish this first group stage with an 8-2 record. In seven appearances in the competition, Joventut always went past the regular season. It is just the second time, however, that Joventut finished first in its regular season group.

The other time that happened was in the 2007-08 campaign. Joventut finished the 10-game, round-robin group stage with a 9-1 record, getting first place due to its tie-break advantage against Turk Telekom Ankara. That team, led by Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Demond Mallet and Lubos Barton – and also featuring a young Pau Ribas, who is back on the current team – went all the way to the trophy that season with a 16-1 record, the best ever for a EuroCup champion.

"We controlled the game all the way. We finished first and that's good news, we brought Joventut back to this spot," Joventut head coach Carles Duran said after the game. "We are happy to finish the year in a good way, and I hope this gives us the strength to start 2021, which is truly exciting."

The game itself had little history. Joventut led 18-15 after 10 minutes, then Conor Morgan led a 6-0 run that boosted his team's lead to double digits for the first time, 34-24. Nenad Dimitrijevic stepped up late in the first half to make it a 14-point showdown, 46-32, at halftime, and Joventut went on to dominate the game. Bourg was not able to come with a full team and could not compete at its best level.

"I congratulate Joventut, they deserve the first place in our group," Bourg head coach Savo Vucevic said. "I think we gave our maximum at this moment. We missed a lot of players, especially Zach Peacock and Zack Wright. It was a chance for young people, especially, players who didn't play a lot. I think we did what we can in this moment."

Ante Tomic finished the game with 6 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists for a PIR of 10. He remains undefeated in his first-ever EuroCup season, after 11 campaigns in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, as Joventut has won all 7 games that Tomic took part on. He is averaging 13.3 points on 63.6% two-point shooting, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a PIR of 19.9.

Tomic, however, is still far away from Ribas, who is 22-0 with Joventut in EuroCup action. Ribas took part in all of 16 victories Joventut recorded in its successful 2007-08 campaign and is 6-0 with his team in the competition. Only five players – Morgan, Ferran Bassas, Simon Birgander, Vladimir Brodziansky and Joel Parra – have seen playing time in all 10 Joventut games until now, which shows the team has a lot of room for improvement.