Buducnost rallies to edge Valencia
Justin Cobbs made a floater with 22.2 seconds left, lifting Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to a thrilling 71-70 win over the visiting Valencia Basket in the team's home opener on Wednesday night. Buducnost improved to 2-0, while Valencia's record dropped to 1-1 in Group B. The visitors led for the majority of the game, and by as many as 10 points late in the second quarter. But Buducnost rallied and caught up late in the third and midway through the fourth, but never went in front until the final minute and Cobbs's game-winning basket. Edin Atic paced Buducnost with 17 points, Vladimir Micov scored 14, while Cobbs finished with 10 points and 5 assists. Klemen Prepelic was Valencia's top scorer with 14 points and Jasiel Rivero scored 11 in a losing effort.
The teams traded blows from the get-go. Louis Labeyrie hit a triple and Rivero scored twice inside for Valencia, but Jacob Wiley had three close-range baskets for the hosts, before a shot-clock beater from Atic made it 12-9. Jaime Pradilla answered with a corner triple and a layup and Josep Puerto also nailed a three-pointer, however, baskets from Micov, Atic and Igor Drobnjak put Buducnost up 18-17.
Valencia scored the first 9 points of the second quarter, a run in which Prepelic scored 5 points, including a triple, to open an 8-point lead. Filip Barovic had a put-back dunk and Zoran Nikolic scored twice, including once accidentally, to cut it to 26-30. Back-to-back threes from Guillem Ferrando and Rivero opened the only double-digit margin of the night, 28-38, but Cobbs hit a buzzer-beating jumper to make it 32-38 at halftime.
Atic hit a triple, the first of the game for Buducnost, and fed Nikolic for a dunk to cut the deficit to 37-40 early in the third, but a three-pointer by Ferrando and a turnaround jumper from Pradilla extended the margin to 40-47. The pace slowed down with both teams going to the free-throw line often. Buducnost was trying to make a charge and baskets from Atic, Micov and Wiley helped get the hosts within 52-53, but Martin Hermannsson and Prepelic hit back-to-back triples to end the third, making it 52-59.
Drobnjak opened the fourth with a three-pointer and Micov followed with a three-point play. Puerto made a layup, and Bojan Dubljevic hit a triple for the visitors, but back-to-back threes from Micov and D.J. Seeley tied it at 64-64 midway through the fourth quarter. Buducnost did not go in front, however, as Valencia got to the free-throw line and Prepelic's layup made it 67-70. But that turned out to be the visitors' last basket, as Marko Jagodic Kuridza had a big dunk with 65 seconds to go and Cobbs hit a floater to win it for Buducnost.
All-round effort from Atic fuels Buducnost
Buducnost forward Edin Atic entered the game with 8 total points in four previous appearances in the competition. But he more than doubled that tally in this game alone, scoring 17 points, making 5-of-6 two-point shots and 2-of-4 three-pointers. At times on Wednesday night, Atic single-handedly carried Buducnost with his all-around effort. He also had 3 steals, 3 rebounds and 1 block in just below 25 minutes on the floor. Buducnost made the late stops and Justin Cobbs made the game-winning basket, but Buducnost would not even be in a position to win on Wednesday night without Atic's effort.
Hosts find three-point range
For full three-quarters Buducnost struggled mightily from three-point range. The hosts made just 1 triple on 12 attempts going into the final 10 minutes. However, Buducnost found its long-range shots when it mattered most. Igor Drobnjak hit one to open the fourth quarter, Vladimir Micov and D.J. Seeley hit back-to-back shots, and eventually, Edin Atic hit one as well. Those 4 triples came on just 7 fourth-quarter attempts, a timely shooting turnaround that helped the team edge Valencia.
Dubljevic's homecoming and Valencia's youth
Valencia had Bojan Dubljevic back for this game, making his season debut in his native country and was greeted with a warm welcome and a standing ovation from the home crowd and club. However, Dubljevic struggled, collecting 7 points on 2-for-7 field goal shooting and 7 rebounds. Klemen Prepelic was also back, scoring a team-high 14 points for Valencia, which was missing Sam Van Rossom, Mike Tobey, Victor Claver, and lost Nenad Dimitrijevic to injury during the game.
But the kids stepped up. 22-year-old Josep Puerto and 20-year-old Jaime Pradilla both scored in double figures in Round 1 and they finished with 9 points and 2 assists each in this game. They were also joined by the 19-year-old Guillem Ferrando who nailed a pair of triples and finished with 6 points and 2 rebounds in his EuroCup debut. Valencia might have registered its first loss of the season, but with youngsters playing at this level, injuries and absences will be easier to overcome.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021