Valencia survives a thriller, clinches place in the eightfinals
The reigning champion Valencia Basket punched a ticket for the eighthfinals, holding off SLUC Nancy in a thriller on the road, 73-75. Valencia improved to 3-2 in Group N, and will finish the Last 32 in the second place, while Nancy dropped to 1-4 and has been eliminated. Valencia took the only bigger lead in the game, when Nemanja Nedovic scored 8 points in 2-15 second quarter run for 23-34 margin. But Nancy rallied before halftime, and took over the lead after the break. As the game was going down to the wire, Romain Sato scored a key pair of second-chance baskets to give Valencia lead for good in the penultimate minutes, before Valencia survived couple hosts’ possessions to win or send the game into overtime. Kresimir Loncar scored 13 of his 17 points in the first half to lead Valencia. Bojan Dubljevic scored 15 points, Luke Harangody had 10 points and 9 rebounds, while Nedovic had 10 points and 7 assists in only 13 minutes on the floor. Randal Falker led Nancy with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Vaughn Duggind also scored 15, Florent Pietrus collected 11 points and 7 rebounds, and Keydren Clark chipped in with 10 in defeat.
Falker scored couple times for the hosts, before Clark and Sergii Gladyr hit triples for 14-9 early margin. But Loncar strung together six points, and Ppablo Aguilar finished a fast break with a dunk, as teams were tied 19-19 after the first 10 minutes. Nedovic had a steal and a layup-plus-foul to spark a run from Valencia in the second quarter. He fed Pau Ribas for a basket, then Nedovic had a fastbreak layup followed by a three-pointer for 23-34. Clark snapped the run, before Falker had a basket-plus-free throw to start melting the deficit. In the final minute of the half, Duggins hit a jumper, before Ryan Reid beat the halftime buzzer with a three-pointer for 38-41 score at the break.
A three-pointer from Duggins tied it at 45-45 in the third, back-to-back triples from Dubljevic and Harangody put Valencia back in the lead. Benjamin Sene scored 7 points in a short span, including a triple for 55-55, but Nedovic made sure Valencia takes 57-60 into the final quarter. A pair of baskets from Loncar, including a put-back, extended the lead to 59-66, but Duggins and Gladyr hit back-to-back from long range, before Gladyr assisted Duggins for a basket and 69-68. However, Sato scored couple of second chance buckets for the visitors, and Dubljevic hit 3 of 4 from the foul line for 73-75 and 28 seconds left. Gladyr missed a triple for Nancy’s lead, and Reid missed both free throws in the dying seconds, as Valencia prevailed.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015