Valencia rallies past ASVEL in home opener
Valencia Basket overcame a double-digit deficit to defeat LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 84-62 at Pabellon Fuente de San Luis in Group C on Tuesday. Valencia trailed 12-22 early in the second quarter but managed to bounce back and get a big win in front of its fans. Will Thomas paced the winners with 16 points off the bench. Bojan Dubljevic added 14, Louis Labeyrie had 13 and Matt Thomas 10 for Valencia. Charles Kahudi paced ASVEL with 13 points and Miro Bilan added 12 for the guests.
Valencia missed its first five shots from downtown, while Kahudi and Mantas Kalnietis each struck from beyond the arc in a 4-15 opening run that Bilan capped with a layup. Thomas and Guillen Vives brought Valencia within 12-17 after 10 minutes. Vives kept pushing Valencia early in the second quarter and a step-back jumper by Will Thomas tied it at 25-25. Sam Van Rossom soon put Valencia in charge, 33-32, with a triple and a jump hook by Bojan Dubljevic fixed the halftime score at 36-35. The third quarter saw 10 lead changes, but Dubljevic and Joan Sastre fueled a 7-0 run and Will Thomas added a couple of three-pointers for a 64-56 Valencia margin through 30 minutes. The hosts improved the margin to 73-58 midway through the fourth quarter to seal a hard-fought win.
Vives stepped up when Valencia struggled most, following a layup-plus-foul with a three-pointer off the dribble to go from 12-22 to 21-23. His effort was shown in the stats sheet, too; Vives finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. A true all-around performance for a PIR of 20.
Defense in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter made the difference. Valencia led 64-56 after three quarters and allowed just 2 points in six minutes. The hosts opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run and never looked back to seal a difficult win.
DID YOU NOTICE?
The EuroCup's scoring king is back in the competition - and ready to set the bar higher and higher! With his 14 points tonight, Dubljevic now leads the standings with 1,231. His teammate Rafa Martinez, who is currently injured, is second overall at 1,200. The next active scorer is Sammy Mejia, who ranks 20th with 909 points. Dubljevic is set to keep first place for a long time.
Valencia committed only 11 turnovers and collected 10 steals due to its overall activity on defense. ASVEL only had 4 steals and committed 17 turnovers, which made the difference down the stretch in what had been a very balanced game for 27 minutes.
Valencia visits Turk Telekom Ankara on Wednesday, October 10 at 19:00 CET. A day earlier, on Tuesday, October 9 at 20:30 CET, ASVEL plays its home opener against Dolomiti Energia Trento.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018