Valencia stats perfect by downing Partizan
Valencia Basket improved to 3-0 in Group C with a hard-fought 79-71 win over visiting Partizan NIS Belgrade on Wednesday night. The visiting team, which dropped to a 1-2 record, kept its chances for an upset win until the final minute, but Valencia prevailed. Will Thomas led the way in victory with 17 points, and Mike Tobey added 15. Louis Labeyrie was also in double figures for the hosts with 12 points, while Marcus Paige had 14 and Aleksej Nikolic 12 points for Partizan which played without Bandja Sy and Rade Zagorac.
Partizan had a better start, and 7 points from Paige opened up a 15-21 lead late in the first quarter. Valencia scored the last 5 points of the opening quarter, but Nikolic and Aleksandar Aranitovic fueled another Partizan run to open a 24-31 margin as the game approached the midway point of the second quarter. However, Tobey sparked things before Matt Thomas hit a triple that helped tie the game at 36-36. The hosts scored the final 7 points of the half and took a 43-40 lead into the break. In the third quarter Will Thomas scored from long range to fuel a 12-0 run during which Aaron Doornekamp also hit from three-point range, helping open up a 57-44 lead. Partizan was struggling offensively, but Paige beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 64-54, then hit a three-pointer early in the fourth. Nikolic added a pair of runners, helping the visitors get within 70-64 with just under 4 minutes left on the clock. However, Partizan never managed to come closer than that, and a short jumper from Will Thomas with 67 seconds to go sealed the deal.
Midway through the second quarter with Valencia down 27-31, big man Tobey made a great block on one end, then 16 seconds later on the ensuing possession slammed home an alley-oop dunk on the other. Just minutes before, Partizan was up by 7 points, but this sequence was not only a 4-point turnaround, it also completely changed the momentum of the game. Valencia finished the quarter with a 7-0 run, then pulled away with a 12-0 spurt early in the third, never relinquishing its lead again.
Valencia’s big men trio of Bojan Dubljevic, Will Thomas and Tobey combined for 39 points, shooting two-pointers 14-of-22, and pulled down 12 rebounds, all on defense. Those are all big numbers in a game where Valencia held its opponents to only 71 points. Moreover, no player in Partizan’s frontcourt scored more than 8 points.
Valencia had 11 players get minutes in this game. No player was given more minutes than Will Thomas (21:44), and nobody fewer than Fernando San Emeterio (14:21). All 11 players scored at least 2 points and grabbed at least 1 rebound, while 8 of them dished at least 1 assist.
In Round 4 on Tuesday, Partizan (1-2) will host LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (2-1) which is coming off consecutive double-digit victories, while a day later Valencia (3-0) will try to keep its perfect record intact when it travels to face Zenit St. Petersburg (2-1).
Wednesday, October 17, 2018