Unexpected source produced for Valencia

Dec 14, 2019 by Euroleague.net Print
Unexpected source produced for Valencia

Valencia Basket forward Louis Labeyrie had a career night on Friday, pacing his team to its first road win of the season, an 82-86 decision against Zalgiris Kaunas at a packed Zalgirio Arena. Valencia has now won five of its last eight games after opening the season with five losses.

Playing in his first EuroLeague campaign, Labeyrie netted 22 points, making 5 of 6 two-point shots and 4 of 5 three-pointers. Labeyrie was jokingly asked post-game when was the last time he made 4 three-pointers.

"In practice," he answered with a smile.

A high-energy guy, who ranks second on Valencia in rebounding with 5.1 per game, Labeyrie scored a total of 49 points through the first 12 games. He also shot just 1-for-9 from three-point range going into this clash. Even earlier in his career, in three 7DAYS EuroCup campaigns, he made only 9 of 43 three-point attempts.

"Labeyrie has started the season with an injury situation, and he could not put in extra work," Valencia coach Jaume Ponsarnau explained. "But in recent weeks he is working a lot and today gave us a present with his efficiency, especially with his three-point shot."

On Friday night Labeyrie was on fire. He opened Valencia's scoring with a three-pointer and added 2 more triples back-to-back in the third quarter to fuel a key 2-15 run. Then, he made probably the most important shot of the night, snapping the hosts' 11-3 run to make it 70-78 and give Valencia some breathing room with 2 minutes to go.

He also made a long jumper, a pair of floaters, and an alley-oop dunk – more of what we are used to seeing from him – for a complete performance.

"Labeyrie can give us what he gave tonight," Valencia point guard Quino Colom explained. "Zalgiris risked a lot, maybe wanted to cover Dubljevic or other pick-and-roll situations. So Louis had open shots and he showed he can make threes and helped us a lot."

The risk for Zalgiris did not pay off, and Labeyrie's performance gives Valencia's future opponents one more thing to worry when they face a team that is clearly on the rise.