Dubljevic and defense lift Valencia to Game 1 win
Valencia Basket used big second and third quarters on the way to 84-75 win over Nizhny Novgorod in Game 1 of their two-legged Eurocup Semifinals series. The team with the highest aggregate scored in two-game series will advance to the finals, which means that a victory or a loss by up to 8 points next week will be enough for Valencia to become the first team to reach its fourth Eurocup final. Led by Dijon Thompson the visitors had a better start to the game, building a 15-23 lead, but Pau Ribas, Justin Doellman and Bojan Dubljevic rallied Valencia, scoring all points in a 13-0 that closed the second quarter for 41-32 halftime lead. Valencia’s defense continued dominating after the break, and another 13-0 run helped break the 20-point barrier in the third quarter, making it 63-41. However, the visitors replied with a 2-16 spurt to get back into the game, and Semen Antonov hit a last second three-pointer to set the final margin at 9 points. Dubljevic paced Valencia with 24 points plus 12 rebounds, Ribas had 17 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds, while Doellman had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Thompson had 25 points and 8 rebounds for the visitors. Pavel Korbkov netted 14, while Taylor Rochestie scored 13 for Nizhny Novgorod.
Sam Van Rossom and Doellman nailed jumpers, and Romain Sato hit a triple for Valencia, but the visitors converted on 6 of their opening 7 possessions, with Thompson and Primoz Brezec getting all the points from close range for 9-12 lead. Antonov added a dunk and Rochestie drove for a layup to keep Nizhny Novgorod in front, before Evgeny Baburin and Rochesite buried back-to-back triples helping extend it to 15-23. After a timeout by coach Velimir Perasovic, the hosts stepped up on defense, not allowing a field goal for more than 6 minutes bridging the first and second quarter. Ribas hit a three-pointer cutting it to 20-23 end of the first, before Dubljevic scored inside, and Pablo Aguilar’s fastbreak dunk put Valencia in front 24-23 in the second. Back-to-back triples from Dimitriy Khvostov and Thompson briefly gave the lead back to the visitors, however, Dubljevic and Doellman scored more inside, and Ribas triple helped lift the hosts to 36-32. Valencia did not allow a field goal for another 6 minutes, as Ribas added a long jumper, and Doellman capped a 13-0 run with a triple for 41-32 halftime lead.
A triple from Ribas, his third, gave Valencia its first double-digit lead of the night, 44-34, before Doellman strung together 7 points, and Dubljevic capped a 13-0 run for 53-34. Baburin’s three-pointer ended the visitors’ drought, but Lucic and Dubljevic each hit from downtown, and Lafayette fed Lucic for an easy layup and 63-41. Nizhny finished the quarter strong, however, as Rochestie sparked a 0-8 run with a triple and a basket-plus-foul. Teams entered the fourth quarter with 63-49 on the scoreboard, before Korbkov and Thompson each hit a three-pointer to get Nizhny within 65-59 with little over 7 minutes to go. But Doellman restored Valencia’s double-digit lead, and after Van Rossom and Korbkov traded triples, Ribas hit again from downtown for 77-62. Thompson and Rochestie cut the deficit, and after Dubljevic nailed one from long range for the hosts, Thompson fought for a tip-in and 80-72. Doellman and Dubljevic scored put-backs that made it 84-72 inside the final minute, but Antonov buried a tough triple with 0.6 seconds to go, sending the teams into the second leg 9 points apart.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014