Stauskas leads Baskonia on the road past Zvezda
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz got back to its winning ways by getting past Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 64-72 at Stark Arena in the Serbian capital on Thursday night. Baskonia improves its record to 6-7, while Zvezda had its three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 5-8 on the season. The visitors took the lead for good midway through the first quarter and used a 4-19 charge that bridged the third and fourth quarters to open a 45-64 lead before closing things out. Nik Stauskas netted 22 points on 4-for-5 three-point shooting and Tornike Shengelia collected 19 points and 8 rebounds in the victory. Lorenzo Brown scored 20 points to lead Zvezda.
Lorenzo Brown and Billy Baron each hit a three-pointer early, but Luca Vildoza and Shavon Shields replied with second-chance triples for the visitors. A three-pointer from Shengelia and a three-point play by Youssoupha Fall gave Baskonia a 12-20 late in the first quarter. Dejan Davidovac ended the scoring in the first quarter and Ognjen Kuzmic started it in the second to halve the deficit, but baskets became few and far between. Fall and Ilimane Diop scored above the rim, however, before Diop hit a triple and Baskonia went on to open a 22-32 margin with 3:30 left in the game. But Baron answered with a triple and the hosts did not allow another point the rest of the half, using more baskets from Lorenzo Brown in a 9-0 run to cut it to 31-32 at halftime. However, at the start of the third quarter, Stauskas strung together 8 points, including a three-point play and a three-pointer, as Baskonia needed just 2 minutes to increase the margin to 33-42. Zvezda again stepped up on defense, holding the visitors without a basket for almost 4 minutes, but managed only 5 points with Kuzmic's put-back as the only field goal. Fall ended Baskonia's drought with a dunk-plus-foul before Stauskas and Shengelia each hit a triple during a 0-8 run. Stauskas beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 43-56 after 30 minutes and then Shengelia and, again, Stauskas nailed back-to-back threes from the left corner to increase the lead to 45-64. Lorenzo Brown sparked the Zvezda response and a triple from Borisa Simanic cut it to 58-69 with 4 minutes to go. Baron's off-balance triple made it 62-70 with 1:28 remaining. But, the hosts did not get closer than that.
Baskonia re-discovers defense
Baskonia entered this game after allowing 100 or more points in back-to-back games. But Baskonia allowed just 64 in this one. It was the sixth time Baskonia allowed 66 or fewer points in a game this season.
Stauskas stays hot
Playing in his first EuroLeague season, veteran guard Nik Stuaskas is finding his groove. He scored a season-high 22 points, making 4 of 5 three-pointers. This was the third game in a row in which Stauskas netted 4 triples.
Feeling comfy in Belgrade
Zvezda has one of the toughest home courts in all of basketball, but not against Baskonia. This was the third consecutive time that Baskonia beat Zvezda in the Serbian capital, not having lost there since December 2014.
Lorenzo Brown injured
Lorenzo Brown went down with 3:48 left in the game as Zvezda was attempting a comeback. He twisted his ankle and was helped off the court. The extent of his injury will only be known in the coming days. He had been averaging 20.0 points over the past three games, the second-most in the league over that span behind only Shane Larkin.
Both teams will be on the road in Round 14. Baskonia will visit its fellow-Spanish rival Valencia Basket, while Zvezda travels to face defending champion CSKA Moscow.
Thursday, December 12, 2019