Valencia finishes Top 16 undefeated
Valencia Basket rounded out a perfect Top 16 by topping Limoges CSP 91-84 at home in Group G on Wednesday. Valencia won its 10th straight game and finished Group G with a 6-0 record, becoming the only team to remain undefeated throughout the entire Top 16. It is set to face Rytas Vilnius in the best-of-three quarterfinals playoffs series in early March. Limoges was fourth with a 1-5 record. Matt Thomas led the winners with 17 points on 4-of-4 three-point shooting, Fernando San Emeterio added 14, Sam Van Rossom 12, Mike Tobey 11 and Alberto Abalde 10 for Valencia. Axel Bouteille and Dwight Hardy led Limoges with 16 points apiece. Jordan Taylor and William Howard each added 13 while Samardo Samuels got 10 for Limoges. Taylor also had 13 assists for a double-double. Limoges led 63-66 late in the third quarter, but Matt Thomas and San Emeterio took over right after that, allowing Valencia to keep a safe lead until the final buzzer.
Jerry Boutsiele got Limoges going with a five-meter jumper and Hardy added a layup for a 2-4 lead. Tobey and Boutsiele traded baskets and a three-pointer by Hardy gave Limoges a 4-9 margin. Tobey banked in, but Taylor kept the guests ahead, 6-12. Van Rossom scored twice around the basket while Matt Thomas and Aaron Doornekamp each struck from downtown in a 10-0 run that gave Valencia the lead, 16-12. Hardy hit his second triple and consecutive layups by Samuels and Jonathan Rousselle put Limoges back ahead, 16-17. Bojan Dubljevic hit a jump hook and Matt Thomas beat the first-quarter buzzer with a triple, giving Valencia a 22-19 lead after 10 minutes. Matt Thomas scored again and San Emeterio struck twice from beyond the arc to boost the hosts' lead to 30-22 early in the second quarter. Limoges found a go-to guy in Howard, who scored the opening 6 points in a 0-10 run that Taylor capped for a 30-32 edge. Louis Labeyrie stepped up with a triple and a layup-plus-foul in an 11-0 run that Van Rossom capped with a bomb from downtown for a 41-32 Valencia lead. Isaiah Miles followed a jumper with a three-pointer, but Abalde and Will Thomas made it 46-37. Bouteille and Taylor brought Limoges a bit closer, 49-43, at halftime. Hardy and Taylor fueled a 0-9 run that allowed Limoges to regain the lead, 49-52, soon after the break. Doornekamp rescued Valencia with a couple of three-pointers, but Samuels and Bouteille put the guests back in front, 55-57. Dubljevic and Van Rossom rescued Valencia and a layup by San Emeterio gave the hosts a 62-61 edge. Matt Thomas, Van Rossom and Labeyrie allowed Valencia to take a 70-66 lead after 30 minutes. Three-pointers by San Emeterio and Matt Thomas made it a double-digit game, 76-66, early in the fourth quarter. San Emeterio took over with a backdoor layup, but Rousselle did better with a triple. Tobey and Abalde quickly answered and a put-back basket by Will Thomas kept the hosts fully in charge, 84-73, with over 4 minutes left. Limoges kept trying, but Valencia cruised to a well-deserved win.
Matt Thomas played a key role off the bench, hitting 2 two-point shots and 4 from downtown without a miss. He added 1 free throw to finish the game with 17 points in just 20 minutes. He had a team-high performance index rating of 16, too.
Limoges led 63-66 after 28 minutes, but Matt Thomas and San Emeterio combined for 11 points in a 15-0 run that bridged the last two quarters. Valencia got a 78-66 margin and Limoges never got close enough to challenge for the win.
Turnovers made the difference in this game. Limoges committed 20 turnovers, but Valencia limited itself to just 12. Valencia also dished 27 assists, its second-best mark this season. It previously had 31 assists against Turk Telekom Ankara on November 14.
Did you notice?
By being the only undefeated team in the second stage of the competition this season, Valencia's reward will be the home-court advantage in all of its playoffs series this season.
Limoges has been eliminated from the competition and played his final game in the 2018-19 EuroCup. Valencia hosts Rytas Vilnius in Game 1 of the quarterfinals in early March.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019