Kostas Vasiliadis gave Uxue Bilbao Basket a new life in the Last 16 by drilling a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to defeat Valencia Basket 60-61 on the road Tuesday. The result gave both teams 2-2 records with two games left in the Last 16. Nonetheless, Bilbao's back-to-back wins over its Spanish rival in Group J could become decisive in the event of future ties. Vasiliadis was open for a heads-up pass from Axel Hervelle as the shot and game clocks ticked away. He didn't hesitate pulling the trigger and certifying Bilbao's comeback from 8 points behind after halftime. Vasiliadis led the winners with 14 points, while Lamont Hamilton added 12, Adrien Moerman 9 and Roger Grimau 8. Hervelle pulled 11 rebounds while Bilbao's hustle for 9 team rebounds gave the visitors a telling 44-32 advantage on the boards. Valencia got 14 points each from three players, Justin Doellman, Serhiy Lishchuk and Rafa Martinez, but faded gradually after Stefan Markovic left the game injured in the third quarter. A 2-13 run to start the final quarter put Bilbao ahead, but Valencia took the lead back on Doellman's layup with 44 seconds left. Bilbao had the last word, however, and Vasiliadis made the most of it.
A second-chance triple by Martinez and a give-and-go basket by Lishchuk got Valencia started strong at 5-0. After 3 scoreless minutes, Moerman got Bilbao on the scoreboard with free throws before Hamilton tied it 5-5 from downtown. Lishchuk answered by turning an offensive rebound into a three-point play for Valencia. Although Vasiliadis scored his first 4 points for Bilbao, Valencia worked the ball to Martinez for a triple. Moerman put Bilbao within striking distance twice again with a three-point put-back and free throw and the same points on a single shot from the corner. Florent Pietrus and Pau Ribas came off the bench to keep Valencia ahead 18-15, but only until Bilbao sub Nikos Zisis and Moerman sank 3 free throws and Milan Rakovic tipped in a miss on the buzzer for an 18-20 lead or the visitors. Back-to-back dunks by Lishchuk and a pick-and-roll layup by Doelmann took back the lead for Valencia to start the second quarter. When Lishchuk downed a baseline jumper, the lead was up to 26-20. His 2 blocks helped keep Bilbao scoreless more than 4 minutes this quarter before Alex Mumbru and Hervelle hit shots in the paint then connected on a reverse. Suddenly, it was back to 28-26 with under 2 minutes left until halftime. Vitor Faverani and Markovic answered with 3 free throws, ending Valencia's three-minute drought, then Thomas Kelati buried a three-pointer for the highest lead yet, 34-26. Mumbru and Ribas hit dueling triples as the half finished 37-29.
Hamilton dunked for Bilbao's earliest points in any quarter yet, then 3 free throws by Vasiliadis got Bilbao back in the game at 39-35. Lishchuk answered again, with a dunk and free throw, but Mumbru beat the shot clock with a one-hander. A tense standoff lasted almost 2 minutes while Markovic left the court with an injury until Vasiliadis hit a technical free throw assessed to the Valencia bench. Ribas got the next basket and Faverani scored in transition to restore Valencia's high lead at 46-38. Fran Pilepic came off bench to boost Bilbao's spirits with a triple before Hervelle tipped in a fastbreak to suddenly cut the difference to 46-43. Bilbao failed to convert several offensive rebounds until Grimau got to the free throw line to make it 46-45. Free throws and a fastbreak by Martinez let Valencia breathe easier, however, with a 50-45 lead after 30 minutes. Doellman opened the final quarter with a long two-pointer. Grimau answered twice inside to make it 52-49, then Hamilton made free throws for a 0-6 run to get Bilbao within a point. A steal at the other end gave Bilbao its go-ahead chance, and Hamilton took it with a strong post-up and an accompanying free throw for his team's first lead, 52-54, since the end of the first quarter. Another Valencia turnover led to another inside basket by Hamilton, silencing the Valencia crowd with 6 minutes left and a 52-56 scoreboard. Despite a timeout, Valencia kept missing while Grimau upped Bilbao's lead to 52-58 at the free throw line with 3:30 to play. Lishchuk finally broke the spell at the foul line, while Doellman stole and raced the other way for a layup to make it 56-58. After several misses by both teams, Martinez went to the foul line to tie it 58-58 with 1:13 to play. Lishchuk stole at one end, while Ribas found Doellman for a layup and Hamilton's fifth foul, putting Valencia up 60-58 with 44 seconds left. Doellman's free throw missed, and although he got his own rebound, a held ball gave Bilbao possession, down 60-58, with 26 seconds to play. After a timeout, Bilbao’s Mumbru drove the lane and passed to Hervelle, who kicked out to a wide-open Vasiliadis for Bilbao's shot of the season so far.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013