| Valencia Basket took a huge step towards a place in the quarterfinals after saving an 18-point lead and picking up a dramatic 77-82 road win over CEZ Basketball Nymburk on Wednesday night. Valencia improved to 2-0 atop Group J, while Nymburk dropped to 1-1 and a share of second place with VEF Riga. It looked as though Valencia had the game all wrapped up as it took a 49-67 advantage late in the third quarter, but Radoslav Rancik scored 15 points in the ensuing 17-4 run, and Lukas Palyza strung together 10 unanswered points late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 76-76. However, Justin Doellman hit key baskets in the final two minutes as Valencia held on for an important victory. Doellman finished with 18 points, while Bojan Dubljevic led Valencia with 19 plus 6 rebounds. Thomas Kelati and Rodrigo San Miguel each scored 14 in victory. For Nymburk, Rancik scored 11 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. Rancik shot 4 for 6 from downtown, same as Palyza who scored 18. Petr Benda added 10 points, while Jiri Welsch had 8 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds for the Czech champs.
Dubljevic hit a jumper and Doellman sunk a triple to give Valencia lead from the start, and Dubljevic scored inside making it 2-8. Petr Benda and Vojtech Hruban strung together 6 points for game's first tie, but Kelati and San Miguel hit back-to-back three-pointers in a 0-8 run, giving Valencia 8-16. The visitors kept the lead with couple of close-range buckets from Vitor Faverani, and a layup-plus-foul from Florent Pietrus made it a 9-point game. At the start of the second quarter, a put-back from Dubljevic extended the lead to 17-27, before Rancik hit a jumper and a triple to get Nymburk going. After Lukas Palyza and Kelati traded three-pointers, Welsch got the hosts within 29-31. San Miguel responded with another triple for Valencia, but Welsch hit a jumper and Drew Naymick slammed it twice to put the hosts up 37-34. In the final 40 seconds of the quarter, Dubljevic and Palyza traded triples, before Dubljevic made a layup just before the buzzer to make it 40-39 at the break.
San Miguel went coast-to-coast for a layup as Valencia regained the lead immediately in the third quarter, and Dubljevic made it 40-43. Palyza hit a baseline jumper for the hosts, but Valencia stepped it up on defense while Dubljevic scored inside again to spark a run of 11 unanswered points that gave the visitors 42-56 lead. During the run, Doellman scored 6 points, including a shot of the glass in the low post, Kelati made a coast-to-coast layup, and San Miguel hit a triple. Benda ended Nymburk’s drought from the field, but Doellman hit a triple before Faverani scored twice inside and Doellman put a finishing touch on the run for the biggest lead of the night, 49-67. Rancik finished the quarter with a driving layup, but also started string of his 7 consecutive points. Not only did Rancik hit a triple and a jump shot to start the fourth quarter, but also assisted for a layup by Radek Necas that made it 58-67. After Pietrus and Kelati went 4 for 4 from the foul line to give Valencia more breathing room, Rancik stayed on fire hitting back-to-back three-pointers and added a pair of free throws for 66-71. San Miguel and Dubljevic hit back-to-back jump shots for Valencia’s first field goals of the quarter and restoring a double-digit lead, but Palyza went on his own personal run – first making all 4 free throws and then hitting back-to-back triples for 76-76 – forcing Valencia timeout. Visitors benefited from it, as Doellman made a jumper and a basket inside for 76-80, and after another timeout, shot clock expired on hosts’ possession. Kelati kept his cool from the foul line, ending all Nymburk’s hopes for the comeback.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013