Prepelic lifts Valencia past Efes
In a thrilling showdown that went down to the final second, Valencia Basket bounced back from recent losses by edging Anadolu Efes Istanbul 76-74 at La Fonteta on Thursday. Klemen Prepelic stole the show with a game-winning jumper right on the buzzer to end of a memorable back-and-forth battle. Valencia improved to 8-5 in the standings while Efes dropped to 7-6. Mike Tobey paced the winners with 21 points, while Derrick Williams added 14 for Valencia. Vasilije Micic and James Anderson led Efes with 16 points apiece. The guests also got 13 points from Shane Larkin and 12 from Chris Singleton. It all came down to the final plays. Larkin tied the game with 13.3 seconds left, then after a couple of non-shooting fouls, Valencia was able to find Prepelic, who buried a four-meter jumper at the buzzer.
Singleton's jumper and Larkin's driving layup gave Efes a 0-4 lead. Jaime Pradilla scored twice around the basket to tie, but Larkin sank back-to-back triples in a 0-8 run that boosted Efes's lead to 4-12. Bojan Dubljevic struck from downtown for Valencia before Micic scored in penetration and a red-hot Larkin made it 7-17. Tobey and Singleton exchanged tip-ins and Williams joined the three-point shootout for a 12-19 score. Nikola Kalinic and Prepelic brought Valencia within 19-23 after 10 minutes. Tobey stepped up early in the second quarter and Williams added a three-point play for a 25-25 tie. Tobey bettered Tibor Pleiss's tip-in with a triple and added an alley-oop slam for a 30-27 Valencia lead. Kalinic scored again but Micic and Bryant Dunston kept Efes within 32-31. Guillem Vives and Dubljevic stepped up for the hosts, and Sam Van Rossom struck from downtown but so did Singleton and Anderson to bring Efes within 40-38 at halftime. Vives scored down low soon after the break, however Micic and Anderson fueled a 0-6 run to a 42-44 Efes lead. Williams beat the shot clock with a corner triple but Anderson matched that with a fantastic dunk-and-free throw. Van Rossom answered with a reverse layup that Dubljevic followed with a three-pointer for a 50-49 Valencia lead. Williams dunked for the hosts, but Micic and Anderson gave Efes a new 52-54 edge. Rodrigue Beaubois added a jumper before dunks by Singleton and Micic put the guests in charge 54-60 after 30 minutes. Beaubois hit an up-and-under shot early in the fourth quarter before Tobey and Prepelic ignited an 8-0 run that Kalinic capped with a layup for a 62-62 tie. Anderson sank a step-back jumper that Martin Hermannsson matched with a driving layup. He got help from Tobey and Fernando San Emeterio to make Efes call timeout at 68-66. Hermansson fed Tobey for an alley-oop dunk but Singleton and Beaubois helped Efes tie it at 70-70 with 4 minutes left. Tobey scored around the basket and Williams buried a huge fallaway jumper for a 74-70 Valencia lead with 56.6 seconds remaining. Micic struck from beyond the arc to get Efes closer, then Larkin drew a foul with 13.3 seconds left. He made 1 of 2 free throws and Valencia called timeout with 4.3 seconds to go, which proved enough time for Prepelic to receive the inbounds pass, stop on a dime at the elbow, and shoot in the game-winner on the buzzer!
Valencia would not have won without Tobey, who was unstoppable under the rims. He finished the game with 21 points on 9-of-10 two-point shooting, also hitting his sole shot attempt from downtown and adding 8 rebounds for a performance index rating of 27.
With Efes down 74-73, Larkin drew a foul and split his free throws with 13.3 seconds to go. Efes had two fouls to give and used them to run the clock down to 4.3 seconds. Valencia called timeout and put the ball in Prepelic's hands. He took two dribbles, stopped and shot over Dogus Balbay to win the game right at the buzzer.
Valencia outrebounded Efes by 38-24, which was the biggest key to this game. Dubljevic and Tobey combined for 17 rebounds, while Dunston and Pleiss only combined for 5. Valencia also had 23 assists and Efes dished just 15.
Did you know?
Valencia is 4-0 this season in games decided by less than 5 points, having also beaten LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 65-63, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 82-80 and Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 86-90. Efes is now 2-3 in such games.
Both teams return early next week for Round 14 action. On Tuesday, December 15, Efes faces CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital, in a rematch of the 2019 EuroLeague Championship Game. Valencia visits Olympiacos Piraeus on Wednesday, December 16.
Thursday, December 10, 2020