MoraBanc leaves Brescia with its first EuroCup road win
MoraBanc Andorra collected its first-ever EuroCup road victory, triumphing 73-79 at Germani Brescia Leonessa on Wednesday. David Jelinek and Oliver Stevic scored 16 points apiece for MoraBanc and Michele Vitali added 12 against his former team. The victory gave MoraBanc a share of second place in Group A, while Brescia slipped to 2-5. The game was all but decided by a 0-17 MoraBanc run to open the second half and though Brescia rallied late, the 19-point deficit would be too high a hurdle to overcome. Jordan Hamilton led Brescia with 13 points and Awudu Abass posted 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The teams traded shots in the opening minutes, but Brescia surged ahead on an Abass-led 7-0 spurt for a 17-10 lead. Reggie Upshaw got MoraBanc rolling again with a pair of dunks to help close the gap to 19-16 after one quarter. Dylan Ennis and Upshaw scored all the points in a 0-7 second-quarter push that sent MoraBanc into the lead, 24-28. Hamilton evened the score at 29-29. A triple from John Shurna and a pair of buckets inside from Stevic kept the visitors ahead. Luca Vitali's three-pointer drew Brescia within 38-40 at halftime. MoraBanc came out for the second half in a higher gear; Jelinek and Vitali connected on back-to-back three-pointers that ignited a 0-17 run. Jelinek added 5 more points in the run and Moussa Diagne scored twice as the visitors took control. Marco Ceron and Brian Sacchetti scored late in the third quarter to trim the Brescia deficit to 45-62. David Moss gave the fans something to cheer about when his jumper got the hosts within 11, but MoraBanc weathered the storm and after a series of free throws led by 16. There was no quit in Brescia and a throwdown by Abass made it 66-74 with two and a half minutes to play, but MoraBanc regrouped and held on down the stretch.
When MoraBanc opened the second quarter with 17 unanswered points, the outcome of the game was all but decided. Even if Brescia would be able to erase that deficit, it would spend so much energy doing so that it would be tough to hang on. In the end, Brescia rallied late, but never got closer than 4. David Jelinek started the run with a three and added a second triple and a fast-break layup for 8 of the points. Moussa Diagne added 4 points and Andrew Albicy assisted on 11 of the points and scored 2 more.
Stevic is Mr. Efficency
Oliver Stevic knew what to do with the ball whenever he got it near the basket. He just went up strong. The result was 16 points on 7-of-8 two-point shooting. But he hasn't only been finishing strong recently, Stevic has been doing it all season. He is now 23 for 26 on two-pointers this season. His 88.5% conversion rate, which is higher than his free throw success rate (73.3%) is better than the competition's single-season record! That belongs Primoz Brezec at 85.5% in the 2011-12 campaign for Krasnye Krylia, at least for now. If Stevic continues like this, the record will be his soon.
Michele Vitali's happy homecoming
This game featured the Vitali brothers squaring off against one another. While it is only natural for one brother to be disappointed in such situations, this time Luca of losing Brescia was not even on the floor at the end; he was ejected earlier in the fourth quarter. Michele, himself a former Brescia player, came up big in his homecoming.
MoraBanc faces a pivotal clash against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Tuesday. The two teams enter the game tied for second in Group A at 4-3. Brescia remains at home to take on Galatasaray Istanbul in a game that is vital to its Top 16 chances.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018