Iurbentia Bilbao Basket pulled off its first win ever in European competition, in a game which was also its continental debut, by downing Hemofarm Stada at home on Tuesday by 78-67 in Bilbao, Spain. The hosts had a clear advantage in the first period thanks to outstanding shooting, but Hemofarm started trimming down the deficit and made it a one-point game on a couple of occasions, but that was all. In crunch time, Bilbao was led by Janis Blums and Marko Banic to secure a 1-0 in Group H to tie with CEZ Nymburk. Blums had 19 points for Bilbao and Banic added 14. For Hemofarm, Vladan Vukosavljevic dominated from the paint with 25 points, Bojan Krstovic added 15 and Milan Macvan had 10.
Janis Blums scored Bilbao's first points in the Eurocup with his three for 3-1, and soon he added another for 9-5 after Hemofarm had also started to work both inside and outside. Six straight points by Marko Banic including a three-point play, boosted Bilbao to a 16-5 score as Vladan Vukosavljevic scored from the paint to try to revive his team. But the hosts were performing well in offense with high percentages that allowed them to put an end to the first period ahead by 14, 27-13 after a new three-point play by Salva Guardia. With Banic, Bilbao's best player in the first quarter, on the bench, Hemofarm started the second period stronger with a 0-4 run after Vukosavljevic's dunk. Milan Macvan soon added a three that allowed the guests to go down below the 10-point deficit, but the game then entered a phase in which both teams, espceially the hosts, struggled in offense until Blums finally scored for Bilbao but three free throws by Bojan Krstovic put an end to the first half with a 41-33 score for Bilbao.
Guardia and Luke Recker gave some air to Bilbao starting the second half, but that only pushed Hemofarm more as Vukosavljevic worked again underneath for a three-point play that made it 46-42 in minute 23. Bilbao was still living off the great percentages at the start of the game and its 9-3 in assists at that point, but Hemofarm was starting to dominate under the boards and that showed on the scoreboard. Blums launched his team again, but Krstovic and Vukosavljevic with his layup made it finally a one-point game, 51-50 forcing Bilbao's timeout in minute 28. That was the turning point the hosts needed as, after that, Bilbao managed to rack up a 8-2 run capped by Predrag Savovic's three en route to a 60-57 after 30 minutes just after 4 fast points in the last plays by Hemofarm. Blums broke the 1-point difference again with a bomb from beyond the arc, but Miljan Pavkovic copied him as the difference remained. A 5-0 run capped by Blums' new three allowed the hosts to forge a new 10-point cushion, 70-60 with 6 minutes to go. Free throws allowed Hemofarm to stay close as money time kicked in, but Fred Weis scored from the paint for 72-66 entering the last two minutes. The lack of accuracy in offense in the final plays doomed Hemofarm as Banic and Renaldas Seibutis secured Bilbao's first home win in European competition.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008