Bilbao cruises through Ljubljana, stays perfect on the road
Dominion Bilbao Basket kept its grip on the first place in Group A with a no-doubt-about it 63-84 road win over Union Olimpija Ljubljana. It is fifth win in as many regular season road games for Bilbao which improved to 7-2, in at least a share of the first place in the group. Olimpija dropped to 4-5, in a share of the third place. Dairis Bertans led Bilbao with 26 points. Alex Ruoff scored 14, and Clevin Hannah had 10 in victory. Luka Rupnik netted 11, and Sava Lesic scored 10 points in defeat.
Zach Wright got Olimpija going at the start, helping it to 10-5, but Bertans opened his account from downtown and Giorgios Bogris had a three-point play, 12-11. Olimpija extended the lead through Sasa Zagorac and Blaz Mesicek, 17-11. But after Alex Mumbru and Rupnik traded triples, Alex Suarez hit from downtown for the visitors, too, helping make it 21-19 after 10 minutes. Rupnik hit twice more from long range to start the second, but Mirza Begic scored 5 points against his former club, before Ruoff put Bilbao in front, 27-28. Bertans continued the run with seven points of his own, including a triple, before Borja Mendia and Hannah joined in to help open 33-43. A triple from Ruoff wrapped up the second quarter, making it 37-48 at halftime.
After the break Lesic started a run by Olimpija, and baskets from Zagorac and Gregor Hrovat cut it to 46-51. But Mumbru scored twice and Hannah added a triple in a 0-7 run that helped Bilbao remain in control and the visitors held 52-62 going into the fourth quarter. That’s when Ruoff sparked a game-breaking 2-14 run, which Bertans fueled with 7 points of his own. Hannah scored twice more, and Mendia opened 54-76 lead with 3:30 left on the clock, icing the game. Before it was all over, Blaz Mahkovic strung together 6 points for the hosts, but Bogris did not allow the margin to drop below 17 points at any point.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015