Valencia stays perfect, qualifies for Last 32
Valencia Basket has clinched a Last 32 berth, pulling away late in 77-65 win over the visiting SLUC Nancy on Wednesday night. Valencia remained unbeaten and with 6-0 record atop of Group C, while Nancy dropped to 1-5, in a share of the fifth place with Proximus Spirou Charleroi. The visitors used a strong start to the second quarter to open a 9-point lead, and take 30-35 advantage into halftime. Two teams traded leads in the third quarter and into the fourth, before Rafa Martinez and Sam Van Rossom hit three-pointers to spark a 12-2 run that gave Valencia 65-57 lead it never relinquished. Van Rossom led the winners with 17 points, Justin Hamilton contributed with 15 points and 4 steals. John Shurna finished with 10 for Valencia. James Bell scored 11 points to start the fourth, and finished with 17 points for the visitors. Bandja Sy and Derwin Kitchen had 11 points apiece for Nancy which outrebounded the hosts 35-25, and pulled down 13 offensive boards, but was not enough.
Van Rossom nailed a pair from downtown, and had a basket on a fast break to help Valencia open 10-7 during the slow offensive start for both teams. Baskets were few and far between in the final four minutes of the period, as Antoine Diot's free throws made it 14-11 in the last second of the first quarter. Diot hit a three-pointer in the opening minute of the second, however, Derwin Kitchen and Andy Panko hit triples for the visitors, before Sy strung together 7 points, including a three-pointer to open 19-25 margin. After a Valencia timeout, Fernando San Emeterio's triple helped the hosts get within a single point, but Panko, Kitchen and Florent Pietrus scored in an ensuing 0-8 run, opening 24-33 margin. However, in the final 2:30 of the half, Van Rossom and Shurna combined to go 6 of 6 from the foul line, cutting the deficit to 30-35 at halftime.
Hamilton scored 5 points, including a run-starting triple, and a basket from Luke Sikma put Valencia in front after 4 minutes in the third, 39-38. Sy restored Nancy’s lead, before Hamilton on one end and Kitchen on the other each scored twice, as offenses went quite in the last 5 minutes of the quarter, and teams were tied at 46-46 going into the fourth. Bell had a triple and a basket-plus-foul for Spirou and 49-52, and after buckets from Hamilton and Martinez, Bell hit another one from long range, 53-55. But Martinez and Van Rossom hit long daggers for the hosts, and Hamilton’s basket opened 65-57 margin. Morris Curry ended a 12-2 run, but Guillem Vives countered with a three-pointer, and added basket that made it 70-61. Curry’s triple kept hopes alive for Nancy, but that turned out to be the only field goal the hosts allowed in the final 3 minutes of the game, as Shurna and Sikma iced the game.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015