Eriksson, Gran Canaria rock Tofas, 92-71
The tightest group in the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season got even tighter after Herbalife Gran Canaria floored visiting Tofas Bursa by 92-71 on Wednesday. Both teams, Zenit St. Petersburg and ASVEL Villeurbanne now have 4-3 records atop Group D. Gran Canaria holds tiebreak advantages, however over Tofas and Zenit. The hosts used a 22-3 first-half run to turn around the scoreboard and a 10-0 burst late in the third to put the game out of reach at 69-50. Gran Canaria more than doubled Tofas in assists (26 to 10), rebounds (33 to 15) and PIR (121 to 49). Marcus Eriksson made 5 of 8 threes en route to 22 points for the winners. Lucas Fischer followed with 12, Eulis Baez and Albert Oliver had 11 each, while , Ondrej Balvin had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds, plus a career-high 5 assists. Raymar Morgan and Tony Crocker, with 12 points each, led Tofas, while Josh Owens added 11 and Baris Ermis 10.
Owens and Balvin opened the scoring inside before Morgan and Baez hit each team's first triple for a 5-5 tie. Tofas edged ahead on a huge alley-oop dunk by Owens and then extended to a 9-13 lead on Tony Crocker's straight-up three. Guy Mekel answered from deep and Eriksson followed with 5 points in a row. Out of a timeout, Gran Canaria completed its 10-0 run with Balvin dunking for a 19-13 advantage. Eriksson's floater and a free throw by Anzejs Pasecniks that Tofas accidentally tipped in meant a double-digit lead, 24-14, which Morgan cut with a jumper to finish the first quarter. D.J. Seeley assisted Fischer and hit a fastbreak layup before Albert Oliver beat the shot clock for a huge 31-16 advantage. Ermis gave Tofas some relief from downtown, twice, but until then the visitors were trading baskets at 41-25. When Pierria Henry joined him from deep and Ermis drove for a layup, however, Gran Canaria needed a timeout at 41-30. Morgan kept it rolling for Tofas with consecutive baskets at 42-34. Free throws revived Gran Canaria, but Tofas kept the difference to single digits, 47-38, at the break.
Oliver hit a layup and Eriksson a corner triple to start the second half. Ivan Paunic answered and Kenny Kadji's dunk got the visitors within 10 at 54-44, but Eriksson hit a wide-open triple. Henry and Balvin traded buckets and Sammy Mejia hit free throws, but the margin remained until Gran Canaria took it up a notch. Eriksson buried back-to-back triples, one from way downtown, and then fed Oriol Pauli on a long fastbreak alley-oop as the hosts surged to a 69-50 difference. Pauli and Pasecniks dunked to start the fourth quarter. Gran Canaria seemed content to trade baskets, but did better, upping the lead to 80-61 as Balvin and Pasecniks, from the corner, took over. Tofas tried to limit the damage, with a dunk by Owens making it 80-66, just as Gran Canaria looked to expand it, knowing that points could come into play in such a tight group. The hosts not only made sure of that, but also brought on 17-year-old Aleksander Balcerowski and 16-year-old Jovan Kljajic to make their EuroCup debuts and score the game's final baskets, to the delight of the home crowd.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017