Union Olimpija Ljubljana earned a 95-83 win over La Caja de Canarias in Group B of the Barking Abbey Academy Euroleague Basketball Junior Classification Tournament on Thursday afternoon in London, England. The winner of the tournament will join the list of teams to participate in the Nike International Junior Tournament in Paris, France during the 2010 Euroleague Final Four weekend. Following a first half in which Canarias was in charge, Olimpija took over using its advantage in the paint but needed an 11-0 run before the buzzer to secure the win. Jan Span led the way with 25 points and 9 assists, Klemen Prepelic added 24 points while Gezim Morina finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Christian Diaz was the top scorer of the losing side with 25 points and Fabio Santana finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds.
After close 7 minutes Canarias scored 6 points in a row and took a 14-21 lead, but Span's lay up with the buzzer cut the margin to 20-24 after ten minutes of playing. Diaz was on fire and scored his 18th point already after 12 minutes to give his team a 25-32 lead, and Santana extended it to a 9 point difference, 31-40 before Olimpija wrote an 11-2 run to tie the score and enter the break just a single point behind, 42-43. Erjon Kastrati scored from the arc to start the second half with an Olimpija lead but Canarias still fought back and tied the game at 50-50. Prepelic was there to damage with back-to-back hits from the perimeter and another lay up, to open an 8 point gap, as Span continued to share the ball and score at will. Canarias cut the margin to 6, 69-63, deep in the third, but Morina was present in the paint to keep Olimpija on top with a 9 point lead. Diaz and later on Santana from the perimeter cut it to an 80-78 game, inside the last 5 minutes of the game, and another three pointer made it just a one point game, 84-83, but then only to see Span and Morina lead an 11-0 run until the final buzzer.
Thursday, February 18, 2010