ASVEL downs Valencia to snap losing skid
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne picked up a much-needed victory by fending off Valencia Basket 72-65 at home. ASVEL was paced by David Lighty with 20 points as it snapped a three-game losing streak to improve its record to 10-17. Jordan Taylor added 10 points, 5 assists and 3 steals and Theo Maldeon chipped in 9 points and 4 assists for ASVEL, which had lost nine of its last 10 games. Valencia saw Guillem Vives tally 14 points off the bench and Quino Colom, Louis Labeyrie and Joan Sastre all score 11 points in dropping its third straight to fall to 12-15. Valencia had grabbed four wins in the last five road games, but the defeat was a blow in the Spanish club’s fight for the playoffs.
ASVEL was playing without Ismael Bako and Adreian Payne, but got the offense going with 5 straight points from Rihards Lomazs for a 7-4 lead. Lighty added 7 points in a row in a 9-0 ASVEL run as the gap grew to 16-7. The visitors picked up the defense and got some production from the bench with Vives hitting a triple in a 2-8 Valencia spurt to pull within 20-17 after 10 minutes. Sastre’s free throws to start the second quarter cut the margin to 20-19. ASVEL was able to push back away with a three-pointer from Davion Berry playing his second game for the team and new addition Guerschon Yabusele’s first points to make it 29-22. Sastre answered with a three and Colom added a three-point play as Valencia was again close at 29-28. ASVEL’s teenager Maledon followed with the next 9 points for the first double-digit advantage 38-28. It was 38-30 at the break.
ASVEL opened the second half with the first 4 points for a 12-point lead and Lighty drained back-to-back triples to push the gap to 48-34. Baskets by Yabusele and Charles Kahudi had ASVEL up 54-41, but the hosts could only manage 2 free throws in the final 3:43 minutes of the third quarter with Valencia reeling off a 2-11 surge to cut the deficit to 56-52 after 30 minutes. Yabusele opened the final frame with a three-pointer to ease ASVEL’s nerves at 59-52, but Labeyrie answered with a triple at the other end and Alberto Abalde trimmed it to 59-57 with a Mike Tobey dunk making it 61-59 with less than 6 minutes left. ASVEL kept the visitors scoreless for more than 3 minutes, but could only push ahead 63-59. Sastre converted a layup at the other end, but Taylor made 4 free throws and a floating layup for a 70-61 cushion with 60 seconds to play. ASVEL had broken Valencia’s will.
One of the keys to ASVEL’s success was its excellent defense in frustrating Valencia’s Bojan Dubljevic. The visitors' star big man came into the game averaging 14.4 points on 60.9 percent shooting on two-pointers and 35.9% from long range plus 6.8 rebounds. But Dubljevic tallied just 4 points as he made just 1 of 5 from two-point range and 0 of 4 on three-pointers with 2 of 2 free throws to go with just 1 rebound, 2 turnovers and a technical foul in 19:15 minutes of action.
Everybody doing their part
ASVEL was missing two of its main players in Ismael Bako and Adreian Payne, but everybody did their part in picking up the slack as all 11 players who played at least 7 minutes scored and just David Lighty and Jordan Taylor scored in double figures. Guerschon Yabusele had 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in his EuroLeague debut while Davion Berry chipped in 3 points and 1 rebound in his second game for ASVEL.
ASVEL was able to get some easy points in a hard-fought and low-scoring game with a 13-2 advantage in fastbreak points and 26-12 advantage on points off turnovers. ASVEL also held Valencia to just 20.0% on three-pointers.
ASVEL heads back on the road for its fourth away game in the last five as it travels to Spain to face Real Madrid on Thursday. Valencia makes its way back home and will welcome AX Armani Exchange Milan in hopes of snapping its losing streak.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020