Buducnost stays alive in thriller
Buducnost VOLI Podgorica kept its qualification hopes alive with a thrilling 89-92 win at JL Bourg en Bresse, which went down to the final shot. The first half was very close, with neither team ahead by more than 5 and several lead changes before the interval arrived with Buducnost narrowly leading, 45-47. Both offenses continued to flow freely in the third quarter, which finished 69-67 to Bourg, and although Buducnost went ahead in the final quarter, Bourg never gave up until Zack Wright missed an attempt to tie the game on the final buzzer. Bourg dropped to 0-5, while Buducnost (2-3) must now beat Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana by more than 4 points next week to qualify. Justin Cobbs and Willie Reed led the winners with 14 points apiece. Amadeo Della Valle added 12 points, while Luka Mitrovic and Danilo Nikolic both scored 10. Bourg’s Zachery Peacock led all scorers with 29 points and Thomas Scrubb added 20. Pierre Pelos had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Maxime Courby netted 12 in the loss.
Suad Sehovic started the scoring from deep, but Peacock immediately responded likewise. Fedor Zugic also struck from beyond the arc for Buducnost, but Pelos and Scrubb scored under the basket for a 7-6 Bourg lead. Reed, Sehovic, Peacock and Melvin Ejim all netted inside for Buducnost, but Courby swished a couple of triples to keep it close. Consecutive scores from Hugo Benitez gave Bourg a slender lead, but Della Valle’s corner three and Mitrovic’s layup-and-one made it 21-24 after 10 minutes. Cobbs and Benitez traded triples early in the second frame and Peacock hit another long-range shot for a 30-29 Bourg edge. Ejim scored twice to send Buducnost back in front, but Peacock made another pair of threes to make it 36-35. Another three-point play from Mitrovic and a triple from Zugic forced another lead change. Reed scored three times inside, bettering two scores from Peacock to make it 45-47 at the break.
The same free-scoring pattern continued early in the second half, with Pelos netting twice inside and Scrubb scoring three times to send Bourg ahead, but Cobbs hit 8 points in a hurry to pull it back to 60-60. Peacock nailed his fifth triple, Wright scored in transition and Pelos was again on the mark to make it 67-62, but Della Valle answered from deep and Mitrovic went to the hoop to tie it again, before Pelos had the final word of the third quarter as Bourg led 69-67. Deep strikes from Della Valle and Nikolic sent Buducnost ahead early in the fourth, but Peacock revived Bourg with his sixth three-pointer. Six points from Nikola Ivanovic made it 72-79 as Buducnost took control. Scrubb and Benitez brought Bourg closer, but Della Valle’s fourth triple stretched the lead to 78-85 with 5 minutes remaining. Scrubb and Nikolic traded three-pointers, before a three-point play from Wright tightened it up, 86-90. Free throws took it to 86-92 before Courby hit a triple and Wright’s attempt to force overtime on the final buzzer rimmed out.
Short-handed Bourg plays with six
With several players missing through injury, Bourg had a roster of just nine players for the game and effectively played with six as Vuk Vucevic spent less than 7 minutes on the floor. Pierre Pelos (35:57) and Zachery Peacock (35:16) spent the most time on the floor.
Back and forth battle
The first three quarters were really back and forth, with 16 lead changes before Buducnost moved ahead for good early in the fourth. Even with a high lead of 81-90, though, Bourg refused to go away and took the game down the wire.
Fast start to fourth proves enough
The turning point came at the start of the fourth quarter. Bourg led by 69-67, but the opening scores came with a pair of deep strikes from Amadeo Della Valle and Danilo Nikolic, before Nikola Ivanovic added free throws to make it a 6-point lead, the biggest of the night yet. Bourg tried to battle back, but Buducnost stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Bourg finishes its campaign with a road trip to Virtus Segafredo Bologna next Tuesday, while Buducnost has its make-or-break home game with Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana the same night.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021