Gran Canaria rallies on road to stop Zielona Gora
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas took a step toward reach the Eurocup semifinals for the second season in a row by coming back to down host Stelmet Zielona Gora 82-93 on Wednesday in Game 1 of their two-game quarterfinals series. Gran Canaria hosts the second and final game of the series, after which the winner on aggregate score will advance to the semifinals, next week. Alen Omic led the winners with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Sasu Salin added 16 points, Xavi Rabaseda 12 and Pablo Aguilar 11, while Kevin Pangos dished 8 assists for Gran Canaria. Dee Bost led Zielona Gora with 20 points. Karol Gruszecki added 13, Lukasz Koszarek 12 and Vlad Moldoveanu 10 for the hosts. A layup-plus-free throw by Moldoveanu gave Zielona Gora a 15-13 lead, but Aguilar and Omic allowed Gran Canaria to get a 20-23 lead after 10 minutes. Back-to-back triples by Rabaseda boosted the guests' lead to 25-31. Zielona Gora found a go-to guy in Gruszecki, who had 13 second-quarter points. He got help from Dejan Borovnjak and Mateusz Ponitka to give the hosts a 49-44 lead at halftime. Salin and Omic took over after the break and a layup by Brad Newley made the hosts call timeout at 53-57. Bost led a 9-0 Zielona Gora run but back-to-back three-pointers by Eulis Baez gave Gran Canaria a 65-67 lead after 30 minutes. Bost allowed Zielona Gora to regain the lead, 71-70, before three-pointers by Rabaseda, Aguilar and Pangos pushed Gran Canaria to a 74-81 lead, enough to control the game until the final buzzer.
Anzejs Pasecniks got Gran Canaria going with a layup but Ponitka matched it with a dunk and Borovnjak added a three-point play for a 5-2 Zielona Gora lead. Bost shined with a coast-to-coast layup but Pasecniks and Salin fueled a 2-8 run that Brad Newley capped with back-to-back baskets to give Gran Canaria a 9-10 lead. Przemyslaw Zamojski downed a corner triple and Moldoveanu added a layup-plus-free throw to put the hosts back ahead, 15-13. Aguilar and Koszarek exchanged triples before an outstanding Omic gave his team the lead, 18-21. D.J. Seeley made a reverse layup but a buzzer-beating basket by Koszarek fixed the score at 20-23 after 10 minutes. Koszarek kept pacing Zielona Gora with a three-pointer early in the second quarter. Omic shined with a driving layup and Rabaseda sank back-to-back triples for a 25-31 Gran Canaria lead. Szymon Szewczyk scored in penetration and then fed Gruszecki for a slam. Bost scored in penetration and Gruszecki capped a 9-0 run for the hosts with a triple. Aguilar hit a three-pointer but an unstoppable Gruszecki gave Zielona Gora a 39-34 edge. Aguilar hit free throws that Borovnjak erased with a jump hook. Salin followed foul shots with a put-back layup but Gruszecki swished another three-pointer. Borovnjak scored down low and Ponitka erased Albert Oliver's triple with a bomb from way downtown for a 49-44 score at halftime.
After the break, Salin stepped up with back-to-back baskets before a layup by Eulis Baez gave Gran Canaria a 49-50 lead. Koszarek hit a mid-range jumper that Omic matched with a backdoor layup. Moldoveanu made free throws that Kevin Pangos improved on with a three-pointer before a layup by Newley forced Zielona Gora to call timeout as Gran Canaria was up 53-57. Salin made free throws before a jump-hook by Moldoveanu ignited a 9-0 run in which Bost had 5 points that put Zielona Gora back in charge, 61-59. Rabaseda's free throws preceded consecutive triples by Baez that gave Gran Canaria fresh air, but Moldoveanu answered from downtown to keep Zielona Gora within 65-67 after 30 minutes.
Rabaseda split free throws early in the fourth quarter and a put-back layup by Omic boosted the guests' lead to 65-70. Zielona Gora found a new go-to guy in Bost, who buried consecutive three-pointers for a 71-70 lead. Rabaseda downed his own triple and so did Aguilar to make Zielona Gora stop the game with a timeout at 71-76. Pangos followed a fastbreak layup with a three-pointer but Bost kept Zielona Gora within 74-81. Ponitka ignited the crowd with an acrobatic layup and Szewczyk scored down low, but Omic and Salin kept Gran Canaria ahead, 78-85. Oliver and Koszarek exchanged baskets and a layup by Omic gave the guests a 80-89 edge in the next-to-last minute. In the final one, however, Omic and Salin made sure Gran Canaria went home with a double-digit series lead to protect.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016