Bilbao Basket remained undefeated at home, defeating Panionios Athens 93-62 and picking up its first win in the Last 32. Bilbao is now 1-1 and will be in a share of the second place in Group L on Wednesday, regardless of the outcome of the clash between Nizhny Novgorod and Crvena Zvezda Telekom. Meanwhile, Panionios drops to 0-2 in the last place of the standings. Bilbao never trailed, pulling away to a double-digit lead in the second quarter behind a 13-2 run. The hosts and held 40-30 halftime lead, before German Gabriel and Fran Pilepic sparked a 25-3 run in the third quarter, as Bilbao raced to a huge lead and cruised to victory. Roger Grimau led six Bilbao players in double digits with 18 points. Gabriel scored 15, Pilepic 14, and Zoran Vrkic added 11 points. Dairis Bertans and Damir Markota each added 10 points for Bilbao. Panionios lost big despite 28 points from Errick McCullom, while Marc Carter scored 9 in defeat.
After Gabriel started things with a jumper, Bertans followed it with a triple, and Axel Hervelle made a put-back for 7-0. Marc Carter opened account for the visitors, and a triple-plus-free throw from McCullom cut it to 9-8. Bertans drove to the hoop, and nailed a long jumper for the hosts, but a triple from Uros Duvnjak tied it at 17-17. Bilbao finished the first quarter with a pair of driving dunks, latter being a one-handed buzzer-beating slam from Bertans for 21-19. A pair of long jumpers from Pilepic at the start of the second extended the lead to 27-19. McCullom drove the lane for a big dunk on the other end, but Vrkic sank a three, and Raul Lopez a mid-range jumper for 32-21 midway through the second. Mario Batis hit a three-pointer and Gaios Skordilis layup-plus-foul to briefly halve the deficit, but Gabriel and Grimau scored from close range, helping the hosts to a 40-30 halftime lead.
After the break, Carter hit a three-pointer for Panionios, but Gabriel scored 5 points, then assisted cutting Vrkic for an easy layup and 47-33. The hosts were in complete control as Pilepic drove to the basket and sank one from downtown, while Bilbao’s defense was shutting down the visitors. Grimau continued the run, scoring 8 points, including a coast-to-coast basket-plus-foul. A triple from Damir Markota capped a 25-3 spurt, making it 67-36 before McCullom snapped the visitors’ drought with a tough layup-plus-foul. McCullom scored 6 points to open the fourth quarter, and Kevin Langford later added a triple, but Markota and Grimau kept Bilbao going strong. Gabriel’s back-to-back three-point-plays helped increase it to 87-50, the biggest margin of the night, as the hosts closed out the game.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014