Big third quarter lifts Valencia in Ankara
Valencia Basket sits alone atop Group C after coming from behind to beat Turk Telekom Ankara 67-72 on Wednesday in the Turkish capital. Will Thomas shined at both ends to lead the team with 16 points, while Sam Van Rossom set a club record with 12 assists to go along with 8 points and 4 steals.
Matt Thomas added 13 points and Bojan Dubljevic scored 12 as Valencia improved its record to 2-0. Turk Telekom fell to 0-2 and is last in the group. Sylven Landesberg led the home team with 16 points, Kenny Gabriel scored 15 and T.J. Campbell had 13 in defeat.
It was nearly all Campbell for the hosts as he hit 3 three-pointers – including a four-point play – as Turk Telekom grabbed a 15-6 lead. Landesberg's second bucket of the quarter made it 17-10 after 10 minutes. The lead hit double figures twice early in the second quarter, but Dublejevic helped get Valencia back on track as it rallied to 30-29. Gabriel stepped up for Turk Telekom with his team's next 8 points – including a pair of triples – for a 38-31 halftime cushion. It was all Valencia after the break; the visitors scored the first 12 points of the third quarter with 5 each from Matt Thomas and Alberto Abalde putting Valencia in control. Landesberg kept Turk Telekom in the game, but Guillem Vives free throws made it 49-55 for Valencia through three quarters. Landesberg free throws narrowed the gap to 59-61, but a clutch Matt Thomas triple kept Valencia in control. Matt Thomas free throws in the final second wrapped up a sweet road victory for Valencia.
A look at the box score will show that Turk Telekom played Valencia to a standstill in most statistical categories; the hosts actually won the battle of the boards (34-33), were more accurate from behind the arc (37.0%-29.4%) and rejected 4 shots to Valencia's 0. However, in one key area, Valencia posted an eye-popping number: 3 turnovers. While the hosts only turned the ball over 10 times, Valencia's minuscule number made for more possessions that the team made the most of in a close game. The main man to thank for that was Sam Van Rossom, who had only 1 turnover with his dozen assists.
Valencia's young guns
After trailing by 7 at halftime, Valencia turned the game on its head with a big third quarter, specifically on the defensive end. While all five players on the floor combined to shut Turk Telekom down for the first four minutes of the second half, the team's two youngest players on the floor did the heavy lifting on offense. Matt Thomas and Alberto Abalde scored 5 each in the 0-12 run that put Valencia in control for good.
Van Rossom's historic night
Not every time a player sets a club record is it cause for celebration. After all, some clubs are just playing their second ever EuroCup games this week. However, Valencia just put game No. 183 in the books, which is the most in competition history. So when Van Rossom delivered his 12th assist – to Will Thomas with a minute and a half left in the game, even though his thoughts were solely on securing the victory, the club record is one to be truly respected. Especially for the 32-year-old who is in his sixth season with the club. Bravo Sam!
Valencia will put its perfect record on the line on Wednesday night at home against Partizan Nis Belgrade. The night before Turk Telekom will visit France seeking its maiden win against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018