Baskonia sinks Madrid, inches towards playoffs
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz used a huge night on the boards by its big men to claim an important 86-76 victory over fellow Spanish rival Real Madrid on Friday night. The victory improves Baskonia to a 15-13 record in sixth place, while Madrid, which has already secured home-court advantage in the playoffs, drops to 21-7 in third place. Baskonia took the lead for good in the opening stages, but could not put the game away until the final minute. Vincent Poirier dominated with 19 points plus a career-high 16 rebounds, including 9 offensive rebounds. His frontcourt mate Johannes Voigtmann had 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Luca Vildoza led all the scorers with 20 points. Trey Thompkins scored 17 for Madrid, and Jaycee Carroll added 16.
Baskonia went ahead in the early going, with Voigtmann scoring 7 points to give the hosts a 14-7 lead. A three-point play from Poirier helped open a 19-9 lead, but Carroll scored 7 points at the other end, including the first three-pointer of the game, helping Madrid cut it to 22-18 after 10 minutes. Thompkins hit from downtown but Baskonia kept going inside and Poirier had a pair of tip-ins, before Marcelinho Huertas and Jalen Jones knocked down back-to-back long-range shots to open a 36-26 margin. Jones had another triple, but Klemen Prepelic and Sergio Llull combined to score 10 points in the final 4 minutes of the half, including Llull’s high-arching floater and Prepelic’s triple-plus-foul, as the visitors made it 39-36 at half-time. Baskonia extended the lead back to double digits right away in the third, helped by a triple from Shavon Shields and a jumper from Vildoza, before close-range baskets from Poirier opened a 50-38 advantage. Santiago Yusta hit a three for the visitors, and Ognjen Kuzmic had a dunk-plus-foul to make it 55-49, but Baskonia kept the margin safe through Shields, and Voigtmann’s driving dunk at the buzzer made it 64-53 after 30 minutes. A corner triple from Jones extended it to 69-53 in the opening minute of the fourth, but Madrid was still not going away. Rudy Fernandez and 19 year-old rookie Melwin Pantzar hit from downtown, before a transition triple from Carroll cut it to 72-68 midway through the fourth. Madrid got within 75-72, but Poirier had two more put-backs and Vildoza nailed a three-pointer to make it 84-74 with a minute to go, sealing Baskonia’s precious victory.
Baskonia had a 50-35 rebounding advantage, and 20-10 on the offensive boards. Those 50 rebounds are tied for third-most by Baskonia in the competition this century, and 20 offensive boards are tied for fourth most. Both are also season highs.
With 9 offensive rebounds, Vincent Poirier tied the Baskonia single-game record, set by Mirza Teletovic in October 2007.
Did you notice?
Real Madrid’s Ognjen Kuzmic and Santiago Yusta each got their first starts of the season while making only their third respective appearances. Kuzmic had not played since Round 2, and this was his first EuroLeague start in Madrid uniform.
Madrid’s 19 year-old guard Melwin Pantzar entered the game with 8:33 to go, making his EuroLeague debut. The youngster did not only appear, but also hit a triple and dished an assist to help Madrid make a run, cutting a 16-point deficit to just 3 points.
In Round 29, Madrid travels to face Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Thursday, and Baskonia will play its final regular season home game against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Friday, hoping it clinches a playoff spot on that night.
Friday, March 22, 2019