Valencia rallies from 15 down to win in Ulm
Valencia Basket trailed by 15 at halftime but shoot it off with a big second half to defeat ratiopharm Ulm 70-76 in Germany on Wednesday night. The visitors improved to 6-3 to stay near the top of the Group B standings, while Ulm fell to 4-5. Valencia rode its big men to the victory. Jaime Pradilla led the attack with 15 points and 6 rebounds in just 17 minutes. Jasiel Rivero added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Mike Tobey posted 11 points. Semaj Christon was Ulm’s top scorer with 15 points, Cristiano Felicio scored 11 with 8 rebounds and Jaron Blossomgame tallied 9 points and 11 boards.
The teams needed a few trips up and down the court to get things going. Blossomgame opened the scoring with a put-back slam and Martin Hermannsson drove through the Ulm defense for a layup and Valencia’s first basket. Thomas Klepeisz put the hosts ahead with a triple and despite the best efforts of Tobey, Ulm retained a slim lead. However, Felicio and Christon each scored twice in a 10-0 run for a 19-8 lead. Pradilla ended the Valencia drought to make it 19-10 after 10 minutes.
The Valencia big men trimmed the deficit as Bojan Dubljevic scored in the offensive glass and Pradilla dunked twice to get within 21-16. Back-to-back threes by Per Guenther and Philipp Herkenhoff and another by Fedor Zugic highlighted an 11-0 run that allowed Ulm to double-up Valencia, 32-16. Dubljevic scored twice more through offensive rebounds – the second an and-one that gave him 1,500 points in the competition. Klepeisz knocked down another three to keep Ulm rolling. Free throws by Blossomgame gave Ulm a comfortable 42-27 cushion at halftime.
Pradilla scored twice in the first few minutes of the second half to trim the Valencia deficit to 11. A layup by Dubljevic made it 46-37 midway through the quarter. Ulm struggled to crack the Valencia defense as Pradilla added a three-point play. Karim Jallow tried to revive the hosts with a score and Blossomgame added free throws, but Valencia had found its rhythm. Rivero scored at one end and made a defensive stop at the other. Tobey netted a three to make it 50-48. Free throws by Guenther and Blossomgame helped Ulm hold on to a narrow margin. Xavi Lopez-Arostegui made free throws to get Valencia within 1 before Fedor Zugic’s dunk ended the third quarter at 55-52.
Josep Puerto’s four-point play completed the Valencia comeback, 55-58. Christon gave Ulm hope with a jumper, but Valencia had the momentum and a tip-in by Tobey made it 57-63. Christon made free throws to keep Ulm within striking distance. Free throws by Felicio and Klepeisz got the margin down to 65-67 with less than 3 minutes to go. Christon missed a floater to tie it and Lopez-Arostegui countered with a three from the corner with 1:35 to play and he all but sealed the outcome with free throws with 36 seconds left.
More milestones for Dubljevic
EuroCup legend Bojan Dubljevic had a relatively quiet night for Valencia Basket in Ulm, but he still filled the box score with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for a performance index rating of 16. He notched a couple of milestones along the way; Dubljevic’s first basket was the 400th two-pointer of his EuroCup career. He became the third player to reach that number and the next-closest active player behind him, JaJuan Johnson, is back at 351. Later Dubljevic became the first player to score 1,500 points in competition history, adding to a storied career.
By the numbers: Valencia controls the boards
Valencia Basket dominated the boards against ratiopharm Ulm. The visitors had 44 rebounds to Ulm’s 35 and they doubled-up the home team on the offensive glass 9-18. Valencia used those to score 22 second-chance points, which were 11 more than Ulm. The rebounding dominance was necessary on a night when Valencia struggled with its outside shot. The visitors missed their first 18 three-point tries and did not connect from deep until the middle of the third quarter. Valencia finished 4 for 32 from downtown and the 12.5% conversion rate was fourth-worst in club history.
Notable distinction for Ulm’s Blossomgame
Jaron Blossomgame became the fifth player in ratiopharm Ulm history to collect 10 defensive rebounds in a single EuroCup game. The record is 14, set by John Bryant in January 2013. That was one of four times Bryant had at least 10 defensive rebounds. The other three to do so were Derek Willis, Daniel Theis and Keaton Nankivil. Willis was the last to do so, in October 2019 against Maccabi Rishon LeZion, until Blossomgame.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022