Valencia outlasts Boatwright, Cedevita in Zagreb
In a thriller that literally came down to the final shot, Valencia Basket edged Cedevita Zagreb 86-89 in the Croatian capital on Wednesday in Group H. Bojan Dubljevic led the winners with 17 points, Pierre Oriola added 15, Romain Sato had 13 and Antoine Diot dished 11 assists for Valencia. Ryan Boatwright led Cedevita with 37 points, the second-highest scoring mark for any EuroCup player this season (Pierre Jackson had 38 for Cedevita), and 11 assists, but missed the shot that would have forced overtime. Rashad James added 16 for the hosts. Boatwright finished the game with a performance index rating of 51, which is tied for the fourth-best mark in competition history. Zabian Dowdell and Vladimir Golubovic also posted index ratings of 51 in the past. The all-time record is shared by Priest Lauderdale (Lukoil Academic Sofia, 2003) and Loukas Mavrokefalidis (AEK Athens, 2015), each with 55. Valencia made 13 of 26 three-point shots (50%) and dished 27 assists to just 10 turnovers.
Dubljevic, Sam Van Rossom and Rafa Martinez each struck from downtown to give Valencia an early 6-11 lead. Martinez insisted from beyond the arc, but James and Mirza Begic kept Cedevita within 13-14. Boatwright scored in penetration and James added an off-balance basket to give Cedevita its first lead, 17-16. Boatwright kept pacing Cedevita with consecutive baskets, but Oriola had 6 unanswered points to get Valencia within 23-22 after 10 minutes. Oriola kept pushing Valencia after the break, but free throws by James tied it at 26-26. It didn't last long, however, as a 0-9 run that Diot capped with free throws gave Valencia a 26-35 margin. A three-pointer by Dubljevic and foul shots by Sato soon made it a double-digit game, 29-40. James followed a corner triple with a big basket and got plenty of help from Boatwright to bring Cedevita within 39-45 at halftime. John Shurna had a fast break slam in a 7-0 run, which Miro Bilan capped with a three-point play that put Cedevita in charge, 46-45, right after the break. Valencia went on its own 0-7 run highlighted by Diot's three-pointer, but Shurna and Luka Babic kept the hosts ahead, 57-56. Boatwright followed free throws with a triple off the dribble and after Fernando San Emeterio and Sato also hit one each from beyond the arc, Filip Kruslin joined the three-point shootout for a 65-64 Cedevita lead after 30 minutes. Dubljevic, Sato and Joan Sastre nailed a triple apiece in a 0-13 run that seemed to break the game open, 65-77. Bilan stepped up for Cedevita, however, and an outstanding Boatwright had 10 points in just 64 seconds to bring the hosts as close as 84-87 in the next-to-last minute. Sastre made free throws, but Boatwright scored in penetration and Cedevita got the ball back with 12 seconds left. Boatwright had a chance to send the game to overtime, but his off-balance, step-back three-point shot hit the rim.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017