Baskonia rallies to down Gran Canaria
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz got back to winning ways by overcoming a slow start to defeat fellow Spanish side Herbalife Gran Canaria 83-66 on Friday. Baskonia improved to an 8-10 record after a game in which it rallied from an early double-digit deficit to run away to a big win in the fourth quarter. Marcelinho Huertas paced the winners with 24 points and 6 assists. Vincent Poirier had 20 points, and a fellow big man Ilimane Diop collected 13 points and 10 rebounds. Ondrej Balvin scored 16, and Eulis Baez added 12 points for Gran Canaria, whose record dropped to 6-12.
Balvin scored 6 early points, while Baez and Kim Tillie each had a three-pointer as Gran Canaria jumped to a 6-14 lead. Another three from Tillie helped extend it to 9-21, but Shavon Shields scored a fastbreak layup, helping Baskonia in fighting to cut the deficit to 16-23 after one quarter. Tillie hit his third triple at the start of the second, but Huertas scored 7 points, including a triple and a fastbreak layup after his own steal, getting Baskonia within 27-30. Balvin and Baez had put-backs to keep the visitors in front, and Marcus Eriksson had back-to-back triples to open a 35-42 lead for Gran Canaria. Diop's buckets cut the score to 39-42 at halftime, and Poirier scored twice early in the third quarter as Baskonia soon kept the visitors scoreless for more than 5 minutes and took a 47-44 lead. With both teams struggling offensively, D.J. Strawberry hit a three-pointer to end Gran Canaria's long drought, but Diop and Huertas each copied him to give Baskonia a 55-51 advantage going into the fourth quarter. A 6-0 run in just 90 seconds, fueled by Poirier, extended the lead to 61-51. Poirier's monster dunk, followed by triples from Luca Vildoza, Darrun Hilliard and Huertas, broke the game open, giving the hosts a 75-59 margin with just under 3 minutes to go as Baskonia continued to cruise the rest of the way.
Baskonia ended the third quarter with a 55-51 lead, its largest to that point, then Vincent Poirier had a pair of baskets in a 6-0 run in the opening 90 seconds of the fourth for the hosts to pull away.
Big men shining
Johannes Voigtmann did not play due to sickness, so Baskonia played a lot with centers Ilimane Diop and Vincent Poirier on the floor together. Poirier logged in 28:06 minutes and Diop played 27:22. The two big men dominated, combining for 33 points on 11-for-15 two-point shooting, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
With Tornike Shengelia, Jayson Granger and Patricio Garino all out injured, and Voigtmann sick, Coach Velimir Perasovic used a seven-men rotation where each player played more than 25 minutes.
Baskonia held Gran Canaria to just 15% shooting in the third quarter, holding the visitors to 2-for-10 two-point and 1-for-10 three-point shooting. Gran Canaria center Ondrej Balvin shot 8 for 10 on two-pointers in this game, while the rest of his teammates were just 10-for-31.
Next week in Round 19, Gran Canaria hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Thursday, and Baskonia welcomes AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan a day later.
Friday, January 11, 2019