Zvezda snaps losing streak with win over Valencia
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating Valencia Basket 76-73 at home but only after wasting a 12-point third quarter lead. Jordan Loyd led the way with 20 points, including nine points in the final 6 minutes, for Zvezda, which improved to 5-10 on the season. Johnny O’Bryant was the other main gun for Zvezda with 15 points as Zvezda has never lost to Valencia in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Louis Labeyrie and Klemen Prepelic both scored 15 points to lead Valencia, which had won five of its last seven games before falling to 9-6. Mike Tobey added 11 points in the loss.
Aleksa Uskokovic opened the scoring in the lane for the hosts with Labeyrie dunking home Valencia’s first points at the other end. A Labeyrie three-pointer put Valencia ahead for the first time at 4-7. Loyd answered from deep and Corey Walden’s three-point play put the hosts back ahead 10-9 while Labeyrie and Prepelic knocked down back-to-back triples and Valencia was up 14-18. Dejan Davidovac answered with six points for Zvezda, which trailed 20-22 after 10 minutes. After Walden hit the first four points of the second quarter, Martin Hermannsson scored for Valencia. The guests’ offense went cold for 3 minutes while Loyd had a triple and layup in a 9-0 run to open a 33-24 lead. Valencia was able to score with more consistency with Prepelic putting int eight points, including two long three-pointers to trim the margin to 42-36. O’Bryant answered from deep and the hosts were up 45-36 at the break. Loyd’s three-pointer to open the second half gave Zvezda its biggest lead of 12 points at 48-36. Bojan Dubljevic scored his first points of the game to make it 48-40 and Guillem Vives trimmed it to 50-44. O’Bryant hit twice to keep Valencia at an arm’s length only to see Hermannsson drained a triple and Tobey had five straight points and Valencia was within 55-54. And Labeyrie nailed a three-pointer to knot the game 57-57 after 30 minutes. Duop Reath started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer for the hosts but Josep Puerto matched it at the other end. Valencia twice more answered Zvedza including Derrick Williams’ three-point play evening Jagodic-Kuridza’s three-pointer before Puerto’s free throws put Valencia back ahead 65-67. Loyd took over with nine straight points including a three-pointer and Davidovac’s jumper concluded an 11-4 surge to put Zvezda up 76-71 with 1:18 minutes left. Labeyrie added two free throws but the damage had been done.
Jordan Loyd was there all game for Zvezda as he collected 20 points including 4-of-8 three-pointers along with 6 assists as he tallied an index rating of 18. He carried his team over the line with the big second half of the fourth quarter.
More struggles - including from foul line - for Dubljevic
Bojan Dubljevic came into the game as Valencia’s leading scorer with 11.6 points. But he was held to just 5 points on 2-of-7 field goal attempts and 1-of-4 free throws though he did have 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Dubljevic has been held to single digits scoring in three of the last four games. The big man also had converted 29-of-32 free throws on the season before missing three foul shots in this game.
Zvezda committed only 9 turnovers but more importantly connected on 67.6% 2-pointers - up from its average of 48.3% this season.
After three straight home games, Zvezda heads back on the road and will travel to Russia to face Zenit St Petersburg on December 22 in its Round 16 contest. Valencia will play its next EuroLeague game at home and host Khimki Moscow Region on December 23 in Round 16 action.
Friday, December 18, 2020