Joventut clinches Top 16 ticket in Venice
Joventut Badalona secured a Top 16 berth by downing Umana Reyer Venice 75-89 at Palasport Talatecio on Tuesday night. The visitors struggled against the zone defense early in the game, but a timeout and 4 triples in a row when they trailed 5-14 changed the trend for good. A 0-10 run midway through the second quarter allowed Joventut to escape to 35-50 at halftime and Trento never threatened with a comeback. The visitors improved their record to 6-2 atop Group A, while the hosts dropped to 2-6 on a four-game losing streak. Ante Tomic led six Joventut scorers in double figures with 15 points in just 19 minutes. Ferran Bassas followed him with 12 and 6 assists, Pau Ribas scored 11 and Nenad Dimitrijevic, Conor Morgan and Vladimir Brodziansky added 10 apiece for the winners. Isaac Fotu paced Reyer with 20 points, Davide Casarin tallied 12 and Austin Daye provided 11 on the losing side.
The hosts started with a zone defense that misled the visitors in the early going. Even though Tomic punished the rim twice to pace Joventut, Reyer used triples by Fotu and Michael Bramos to build a 14-5 lead after 5 minutes. Consecutive threes by Xabi Lopez-Arostegui and Ribas after a timely timeout awakened the visitors, who managed to tie it at 19-19 behind a floater by Dimitrijevic. Simon Birgander put the visitors ahead, 21-24, with a three-point play and a slam at the end of the first quarter. Morgan connected from downtown and Joel Parra scored inside to make it 23-31 early in the second. Bassas added a triple and a jumper to fuel a 0-10 run capped by another three-pointer by Brodziansky and a fastbreak dunk by Morgan that set a 25-41 edge for the visitors. Reyer found some relief from the line, but it kept struggling on defense as Brodziansky and Tomic rocked inside to help Joventut to a 35-50 advantage at halftime.
Jeremy Chappel and Fotu tried to bring their team back into the game after the break, but the visitors found no trouble to keep them far behind Morgan and Tomic's offensive contributions. A flashy layup off the dribble by Bassas set a 44-62 advantage for the hosts midway through the third quarter. A late push led by Casarin and Julyan Stone reduced the margin to 53-68 entering the last period. Stone and Leonardo Biancotto came up big with back-to-back triples that brought Trento within 59-69, but Joventut didn’t panic as Tomic and Dimitrevic cooled it down by combining for 8 points to make it 61-77. The former kept pulling the strings on offense for Joventut and even though Trento’s youngsters provided some points, the visitors found no trouble to keep a safe double-digit margin until the end and celebrate their qualification for the next phase.
Even though the visitors needed to look for their shooters to get their first lead, Ante Tomic became Joventut’s lifeguard every time he was on the court. He needed only 19 minutes to lead his team in scoring, taking just 5 shots. He also provided 4 assists and drew 7 fouls for a PIR of 26.
Joventut had six scorers in double-figures and all 11 players who stepped onto the court contributed.
Youngsters take over
Davide Casarin (17), Luca Possamai (19) and Leonardo Biancotto (18) took advantage of Reyer’s multiple absences to see big playing time. Casarin scored 12 points in 21 minutes, behind only Isaac Fotu, while Biancotto added 7 in 18 minutes. Possamai, in his second EuroCup game, provided 5 rebounds in 25 minutes.
In Round 10 next week, Umana Reyer Venice will travel to Turkey to visit Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul on Tuesday, December 15. Joventut Badalona will return home to host UNICS Kazan the same day.
Tuesday, December 8, 2020