Grigonis wins it in Valencia
Marius Grigonis made an off-balance jumper on the buzzer as Zalgiris Kaunas edged Valencia Basket 78-79 at La Fonteta on Wednesday. Zalgiris led 70-77 with 43 seconds left, but an 8-0 run that Sam Van Rossom capped with a three-pointer put Valencia in charge, 78-77, with 3.3 seconds remaining. Zalgiris called timeout and Grigonis took over for the Lithuanian champs. Zalgiris improved to 13-9 in the standings with its eighth win in the last 10 games. Valencia dropped to 11-11 and is 1-5 in its last six. Augustine Rubit led the winners with 17 points, Joffrey Lauvergne added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Grigonis finished with 12 points and Rokas Jokubaitis had 10 for Zalgiris. Klemen Prepelic scored 18 points for Valencia, Louis Labeyrie added 17 and Martin Hermannsson 10.
Paulius Jankunas got Zalgiris going with a jumper but Vanja Marinkovic and Van Rossom combined for 8 points in a 10-0 Valencia run. Grigonis and Thomas Walkup each answered from beyond the arc and Jankunas scored again to make it 12-10. Labeyrie dunked, but Lauvergne matched that with a jump hook and Rubit hit a triple to give Zalgiris a 14-15 edge. Bojan Dubljevic and Hermannsson each scored around the basket, but Jokubaitis and Rubit kept the guests ahead, 18-20. Labeyrie's two-handed slam fixed the score at 20-20 after 10 minutes. Prepelic and Arturas Milaknis traded three-pointers early in the second quarter and Jokubaitis added a driving layup for a 23-25 score. Hermannsson and Prepelic stepped up for Valencia, but Lauvergne dunked and Rubit followed a jumper with a three-pointer for a 30-32 edge. Van Rossom struck from downtown and fed Tobey for a dunk. Grigonis and Lauvergne boosted Zalgiris's lead to 35-42. Nigel Hayes soon joined the three-point shootout to make it a double-digit game, 36-47. Dubljevic got the hosts within 38-47 at halftime.
Hayes scored soon after the break, but Labeyrie struck twice from downtown and added a jump hook to give Valencia hope at 46-52. Lauvergne stepped up with an alley-oop slam and got help from Rubit and Jokubaitis to give Zalgiris fresh air at 46-58. Prepelic and Fernando San Emeterio fueled a 7-0 run that brought Valencia within 55-60 after 30 minutes. Jokubaitis hit a jumper and Grigonis added a layup for a 57-64 Zalgiris edge early in the fourth quarter. Labeyrie took over with a layup-plus-foul, Rubit and Hermannsson traded layups and Tobey dunked to make it 64-66 with over 4 minutes left. Walkup scored in penetration and Jokubaitis buried a jumper that made it 64-70. Hermannsson and Labeyrie rescued the hosts, but Lauvergne dunked and Rubit buried an acrobatic jumper that seemed to seal the outcome, 67-74, in the next-to-last minute. Hermannsson, however, answered with a three-point play, Prepelic hit a triple and Nikola Kalinic hit free throws and drew a three-attempt foul at 73-77 with 7.7 seconds left. He missed his third attempt, but Labeyrie got the offensive rebound and Van Rossom buried a three-pointer for a 78-77 Valencia lead with 3.3 seconds remaining. Zalgiris called timeout and put the ball in Grigonis's hands, who hit an off-balance jumper to win it at the buzzer!
Augustine Rubit was the surprise factor of the game, striking three times from beyond the arc for the first time in his 78-game EuroLeague career. He finished the game with 17 points on 4-of-5 two-point shooting and 3-of-4 three-pointers and a PIR of 17.
Thomas Walkup downed a three-pointer with 43.0 seconds left, but Martin Hermannsson stepped up with a three-point play, Klemen Prepelic hit a triple, Nikola Kalinic hit 4 of 5 free throws and Sam Van Rossom gave Valencia the lead, 78-77, with 3.3 seconds left. Marius Grigonis took the ball off an inbound pass, took two bounces, made a 360-degree spin and buried the shot at the buzzer.
Three-point shots allowed Zalgiris to keep its chances open until the final seconds. Zalgiris hit 9 of 17 three-point shots (52.9%) and Valencia buried 10 of 29 attempts (34.5%).
Did you know?
It was Grigonis's second game-winning shot of the season. He already scored the game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left to lift Zalgiris to a 74-73 home win against FC Bayern Munich on December 23.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action later on this week, on Friday, January 29. Zalgiris visits TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Valencia also played on the road, against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021