Loncar, Harangody lead Valencia to critical win
In a critical game for both teams, Valencia Basket rejoined the fight to reach the Top 16 from Group D by downing Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 78-71 at home on Friday. Valencia improved to 2-5 while Galatasaray dropped to 3-4. Kresimir Loncar paced the winners with 15 points. Luke Harangody added 13, Vladimir Lucic had 11 while Bojan Dubljevic got 10 for Valencia. Pietro Aradori led Galatasaray with game-highs of 20 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Zoran Erceg added 19 points while Carlos Arroyo had 10 for the guests. Arroyo and Pietro Aradori shined early to give Galatasaray a 6-9 lead. A 9-0 run which Pau Ribas capped with a layup put Valencia ahead for good, 15-9. Lucic pleased the crowd with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 27-17, after 10 minutes. Back-to-back triples by Erceg, the second one from way downtown, brought Galatasaray within 27-26. Haragondy and Lucic stepped up for Valencia to give the hosts a safe lead, 40-30, at halftime. Valencia improved its margin to 57-46 after 30 minutes and than again to 63-46 early in the fourth quarter. Galatasaray rallied once the outcome was clear and managed to lose by as many points as it won in Istanbul, stealing Valencia's chance to get the tie-break advantage if both teams tie at the end of the regular season.
First quarter: Three-point shooting puts Valencia ahead
Ian Vougioukas got Galatasaray going with a one-handed slam and free throws by Pietro Aradori gave the guests a 0-4 lead. Luke Harangody, Zoran Erceg and Rafa Martinez joined the three-point shootout. Carlos Arroyo beat the shot clock with an off-balance jumper, which Harandogy bettered with his second triple. A baseline jumper by Kresimir Loncar gave the hosts an 11-9 edge. Loncar downed another mid-range shot and a layup by Pau Ribas capped a 9-0 Valencia run. Erceg made free throws, which Nemanja Nedovic improved on with a three-pointer for an 18-11 Valencia edge. Aradori nailed a corner triple and fed Sinan Guler for a fast break layup, which caused Valencia to call timeout at 18-16. Ribas hit a five-meter jumper and a jump hook by Bojan Dubljevic restored a 22-16 Valencia lead. A tip-in by Pablo Aguilar and a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Vladimir Lucic boosted the hosts' lead to 27-17 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Valencia keeps safe margin
Both teams struggled to score for more than two minutes, exchanging missed shots and turnovers until Aradori took over with a wild three-point play. Valencia kept missing open shots despite circulating the ball well. Meanwhile, a three-pointer by Erceg brought Galatasaray within 27-23. Erceg kept pushing Galatasaray with another triple from way downtown to cap a 0-9 Galatasaray run. Valencia had been scoreless for more than five minutes, but Harangody stepped up with a layup. Lucic accidentally tipped the ball into his team's own basket, as Galatasaray tried to power the boards with Kerem Gonlum and Nate Jawai together on court. Harangody hit his trademark catch-and-shoot triple and Ribas also hit one from beyond the arc for a 35-28 Valencia lead. Gonlum scored down low, but Loncar did better with a corner three-pointer. A fast break layup by Lucic restored a 40-30 Valencia lead at halftime.
Third quarter: Defense keeps Valencia in charge
Martinez nailed a one-handed jumper in the lane, which Aradori bettered with a layup-plus-foul to keep Galatasaray within 42-33. Valencia kept control of the game with outstanding defense, with Nedovic slowing Arroyo to collapse the guests' offense. Guler split free throws and a three-pointer by Nedovic ignited the crowd at 45-34. Aradori sank foul shots and a wild catch-and-shoot three-pointer by Erceg gave Galatasaray hope at 45-39. Guillem Vives returned to the floor and immediately delivered with free throws. Erceg kept pacing Galatasaray with a jumper, which Lucic erased with foul shots. Aradori sank a running jumper, but Dubljevic improved it with a bomb from downtown, good for a 52-43 Valencia lead. Martynas Pocius split free throws and a three-point play by Dubljevic boosted the hosts' lead to 55-43. A fast break layup by Martinez and a three-pointer by Ender Arslan fixed the score at 57-46.
Fourth quarter: Valencia holds on for big win
Martinez hit a technical free throw early in the quarter, which a red-hot Dubljevic followed with a jump hook to make it 60-46. A steal by Vives allowed Lucic to strike from downtown again and send the crowd to its feet at 63-46. Aradori tried to change things with a layup and a three-pointer by Arslan kept Galatasaray within 63-51. Gonlum scored around the basket, but Loncar beat the shot clock with a jump hook and added a layup for a 67-53 Valencia lead. Arslan downed a three-pointer and Arroyo followed it with a mid-range jumper to keep Galatasaray within 67-58 with four minutes left. Loncar scored again around the basket and Ribas added a fast break layup. Arroyo nailed a three-pointer, but Vives stepped up with a big basket. Gonlum shined with a put-back basket, as both teams kept fighting for the tie-break points difference. Arroyo scored in penetration and a three-pointer by Aradori got Galatasaray within 73-68 in the final minute. A free throw by Gonlum allowed Galatasaray to save the tie-break situation.
Friday, November 28, 2014