Zielona Gora holds off Valencia, grabs first win
Stelmet Zielona Gora picked up its first Last 32 win, surviving a dramatic ending and holding off Valencia Basket 82-77 to keep alive its chances of advancing to the eighthfinals. Zielona Gora improved to 1-3 but remains in the last place of Group O, while Valencia is at 2-2, sharing the second place with Telenet Ostend. After teams traded leads in the first half, and Valencia held slim 40-42 margin at the break, Aaron Cel, Lukasz Koszarek and Marcin Sroka nailed triples in the third quarter to build a 10-point lead for Zielona Gora. The visitors rallied behind Justin Doellman, and Oliver Lafayette’s triple gave them 74-75 in the final minute, but the hosts hit 8 of 8 from the free throw line in the final 35 seconds, snatching a big victory. Eyenga finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to lead the winners. Koszarek netted 14 along with 6 assists, while Kamil Chanas and Cel each scored 12 for Zielona Gora.Doellman led Valencia with 19 points, Romain Sato scored 16, while Rafa Martinez scored 14 in defeat.
Sato hit back-to-back triples early on for 4-8 Valencia lead, but Eyenga scored 7 points, including a triple, and Vladimir Dragicevic scored a put-back, as the hosts took 13-9 advantage. After Doellman and Bojan Dubljevic got the visitors back on track, Martinez and Eyenga traded triples, before Craig Brackins finished the quarter with a layup for 20-18. Teams traded leads through the second quarter. Pau Ribas hit a triple for Valencia, while Chanas had a triple followed by a jumper for the hosts. More triples from Brackins and Chanas made it 31-27, but Dubljevic scored a put-back to spark a 0-7 run. Martinez made a layup-plus-foul for 31-34, and a jumper for 34-38. With offenses getting their way, and teams trading baskets, Cel and Koszarek scored jumpers for Zielona Gora. After Sroka tied it at 40-40, Doellman finished the half with a jumper and a steal, making it 40-42 at the break.
Cel hit a jump shot and a three-pointer early in the third quarter for 47-44, and after Eyenga’s dunk, another triple from Cel gave Zielona Gora 52-46. Doellman and Sato kept Valencia in touch, but Koszarek and Sroka hit from long range for the hosts, and 58-52. While Valencia would only score from the free throw line, Sroka nailed another triple, and Mantas Cesnauskis hit from long range just before the buzzer for 64-56 after 30 minutes. Adam Hrycaniuk’s layup at the start of the fourth made it a 10-point affair, but Martinez hit a three-pointer to help bring Valencia within 68-65. Brackins and Koszarek hit jumpers for Zielona Gora, but Doellman and Triguero answered right back the same way. Doellman’s triple tied it at 72-72 with 2 minutes to go. Eyenga scored for the hosts, but Oliver Lafayerre hit a triple with 43 seconds remaining for 74-75. Only 10 seconds later, Zeilona Gora was in front again thanks to a pair of free throws from Chanas. Lafayette missed a shot on the ensuing possession, and Koszarek put the game out of reach with 4 free throws, securing Zielona Gora’s first win in the Last 32 action.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014