Pullen, Bilan lead Cedevita to third straight win
Cedevita Zagreb stormed into second place in Group B after taking charge in the second half for a 76-67 victory over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz at Drazen Petrovic Zagreb arena in the Croatian capital. The win was the third in a row for Cedevita, which reached the midway point of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season with a 3-2 record. Laboral is also 3-2. Jacob Pullen starred with a career-high 26 points and Miro Bilan posted 17 points and 10 rebounds for the winning side. James White added 15 points and 9 rebounds and Luka Babic also collected 10 boards as Cedevita outrebounded its opponent 49-30. Nemanja Gordic helped run the show with 7 assists. Jaka Blazic led Laboral with 20 points, while Ioannis Bourousis posted 14 points and 8 rebounds and Kim Tillie scored 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Cedevita starts strong; Bourousis leads Laboral back
Bilan got the hosts going before Tillie sank a short jumper. Cedevita jumped ahead as Babic drove to the hoop, Gordic scored in transition and Marko Arapovic hit a hook shot on consecutive possessions to make it 8-2. Laboral was held without a point for nearly four minutes before Fabien Causeur took a pass from Darius Adams to score a baseline layup. Bourousis came off the bench to make a hook over Bilan and a finger roll to tie the game at 8-8. Bilan responded win an up-and-under move to score, but Bourousis found Adams for a layup. Pullen drove for a layup, but Tillie tied it again with a jumper. Henry Walker challenged the Laboral defense and came away with a basket-plus-foul for his first Euroleague points. Blazic tied it again with free throws. Bourousis gave the visitors their first lead with 2 free throws and Adam Hanga doubled it with a layup in transition. White closed the gap to 16-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Blazic, Corbacho help visitors to a double-digit
Single free throws from Mike James and Pullen were the only points in the first two minutes of the quarter. Albert Corbacho sank a three and Kristjan Kangur’s steal led to a Blazic slam and a 17-24 Laboral lead. Pullen’s nifty layup was matched by James’s reverse layup. Blazic hit a pull-up jumper and after a Bilan layup, Blazic connected from downtown for a 10-point Laboral lead midway through the quarter. Bilan countered with a hook shot. White brought Cedevita within 25-31 with a layup. Bourousis boosted the visitors lead with free throws before Gordic’s pass finds Bilan in stride for a layup. Corbacho hit a second triple to make it 27-36. Arapovic hit a jumper in transition and Gordic added a runner in the lane. Tillie’s free throws put Laboral up 31-37 at the break.
Third quarter: Pullen stars in 9-0 go-ahead run
Pullen free throws and three-pointer brought Cedevita within 1. White’s steal led to a Babic slam that gave Cedevita a 38-37 lead. Bilan’s free throws capped a 9-0 Cedevita run. Tillie converted a three-point play to tie the game at 40-40. White soared for a fast break slam before Tillie tied it. Pullen shined with a bank-shot and foul. After Bourousis’s put-back, Pullen connected on another triple. Babic added points at the line to make it 50-44. Blazic halved the Laboral deficit with a three from the elbow. White hit twice from the line, but Corbacho drilled with third three. White fed Bilan for a layup. Neither team scored over the last two and a half minutes of the quarter, to leave 54-50 on the scoreboard.
Fourth quarter: Cedevita holds tough to claim victory
An offensive rebound by Babic and a series of passes led to a White layup. Bourousis dunked in transition, which caused Cedevita to call timeout at 56-52. Pullen stayed hot with a jumper off an inbounds play – and the free throw that came with it. Gordic added a shot in the lane to boost the lead to 9. Walker’s steal started a break that resulted in a foul on Pullen, 2 free throws and a double-digit advantage. Hanga drove for a layup and Blazic buried a three from the corner to bring Laboral within 63-57 with four minutes remaining. White and Causeur swapped threes. Bilan missed 3 of 4 free throws on a single trip downcourt, but Laboral failed to capitalize. White drove for a basket and foul; he missed the resulting free throw, but Bilan tipped it in for a 71-60 cushion. Bourousis’s free throws were not enough to inspire the visitors as time was of the essence. Pullen added another jumper and a three-pointer to wrap up a memorable win. Blazic scored 5 points in the closing seconds, but that did little to dampen the Cedevita’s fans spirits.
Friday, November 13, 2015