MoraBanc clinches first-ever quarterfinals berth
MoraBanc Andorra's magical ride reached the next stage as it punched its ticket to the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals for the first time with an 86-74 home victory over Zenit St. Petersburg. MoraBanc used a 13-3 fourth-quarter run to remain undefeated in Group H as both Dylan Ennis and David Walker scored 20 points. Rafa Luz added 12 points, 6 assists and 4 steals and both Moussa Diagne and Michele Vitali chipped in 10 points for the winners, who were playing without Andrew Albicy and David Jelinek. Zenit, which was without Sergey Karasev, dropped to 1-3 in the Top 16 despite a career-high 19 points plus 6 assists and 3 steals from Codi Miller-McIntyre. Jalen Reynolds added 13 points, Philip Scrubb 12 and Sean Armand 10 in the defeat.
Diagne opened the scoring with a three-point play and added another basket to push the hosts' lead to 11-4. Miller-McIntyre started taking over for Zenit with a score and then back-to-back three-pointers to trim it to 15-14. Miller-McIntyre scored yet again, but MoraBanc would not give up the lead and was up 24-19 after 10 minutes thanks to Luz's triple at the buzzer. MoraBanc continued to hit from long range with Reggie Upshaw draining a three and Ennis hitting two bombs for a 35-27 cushion. Scrubb answered with 4 points and Jarrod Uthoff knocked down a three. It was 43-38 at the break. Vitali sank a three-pointer to start the second half and make it an 8-point lead, but Zenit kept MoraBanc scoreless for more than 4 minutes and Scrubb scored 4 points in a 0-8 surge to even the game at 46-46. Upshaw snapped the drought, but Armand hit a three-pointer and Marko Simonovic put the guests ahead for the first time, 53-54, with a free throw. Zenit led 56-57 after 30 minutes. There were three lead changes to start the fourth quarter with Ennis's three-pointer making it 62-61. Walker followed later with a three-pointer and Luz completed an and-one to put MoraBanc up 70-63. Miller-McIntyre countered with another triple, but the hosts finished off Zenit with a 13-3 run over 4 minutes with Vitali scoring 5 points and Walker 4 to go up 83-69 with less than a minute to play.
With the main playmaker Andrew Albicy out with a cut finger, Rafa Luz stepped up with 12 points on 6 field attempts to go with 6 assists, 4 steals and 1 block.
Dylan Ennis not only tied his career high of 20 points, but he nailed 4 three-pointers for the second straight game against Zenit. The 27-year-old made 7 three-pointers in the regular season and already has 9 in the Top 16.
MoraBanc may have had committed more turnovers than Zenit (17 to 15), but the hosts made 65.6% of its two-point attempts and 45.5% of its three-pointers, while Zenit was held to 47.4% and 37.0%, respectively.
MoraBanc will look to stay perfect as it remains at home to face Cedevita Zagreb on Wednesday. Zenit heads back home and will take on fellow Russian side UNICS Kazan at home on the same day.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019