Cedevita hands Gran Canaria first loss, but visitors still reach Top 16
Cedevita Zagreb grabbed its third win in Group A by downing previously undefeated Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 97-90 at home on Wednesday. Cedevita improved to 3-2, while Gran Canaria dropped to 4-1. Despite the loss, Gran Canaria secured a Top 16 berth thanks to other results in the group. Marko Tomas led the winners with 22 points on 10-of-11 free throw shooting. Rashad James added 19 points, Miro Bilan had 16 and 9 rebounds, while Luka Babic got 15 points for Cedevita. Sasu Salin led Gran Canaria with 15 points. Bo McCalebb, Kyle Kuric and Anzejs Pasecniks each had 13, while Royce O'Neale added 11 for the guests. Cedevita outrebounded Gran Canaria 41-30 and pulled down 21 offensive boards, a all-EuroCup season high. Cedevita took great care of the ball, dishing 20 assists and committing just 8 turnovers; Gran Canaria had 25 assists, but also 14 turnovers.
A layup by Toni Katic ignited a 7-0 opening run, which Tomas capped with a three-pointer. Salin and Pasecniks stepped up for Gran Canaria, bring their team within 9-8. Bilan took over with consecutive baskets but McCalebb and Salin kept Gran Canaria within 16-15. James took over with 5 unanswered points and soon added another basket for a 24-19 Cedevita lead after 10 minutes. Kuric struck from downtown and a one-handed dunk by Xavi Rabaseda tied it at 24-24. Kuric and Rabaseda soon allowed the guests to get their first lead, 30-31. Tomas and Marko Arapovic tried to change things for Cedevita, but a three-pointer by McCalebb and a dunk by Pasecniks kept Gran Canaria in charge, 38-40. Three-pointers by Katic and John Shurna gave the hosts a 46-44 lead, but Salin hit a technical free throw and a buzzer-beating triple for a 46-48 Gran Canaria lead at halftime. Salin and O'Neale hit back-to-back three-pointers soon after the break and three consecutive baskets by McCalebb made it a double-digit game, 52-60. Dzanan Musa and Bilan allowed Cedevita to cut their team's deficit to 59-66 and even when Kuric and Oriol Pauli stepped up for Gran Canaria, a huge dunk by James kept Cedevita within 67-74 after 30 minutes. Richard Hendrix hit a jumper and Pablo Aguilar gave his team a 69-81 Gran Canaria lead early in the fourth quarter. A three-pointer by Babic ignited a 10-0 run, which Tomas capped with free throws to bring Cedevita back to life at 79-81. Tomas soon completed the hosts' comeback, 84-83, and Babic made it a 5-point game, 88-83, with less than minutes left. Pasecniks and O'Neale brought Gran Canaria within 88-87, but Tomas and James took over in crunch time to lead Cedevita to an important win.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016