Over the final 16 minutes on Tuesday, the visitors romped 19-40.
Gran Canaria flexed on defense to blast Cluj
Dreamland Gran Canaria came into Tuesday's road came at U-BT Cluj-Napoca averaging 8 steals per game. The reigning BKT EuroCup champs had 9 steals in the second half alone to turn a 2-point halftime lead into a comfortable 70-92 victory.
"We are satisfied, especially with our defensive work in the second half," Coach Jaka Lakovic of Gran Canaria said. "We stopped their transition, we rebounded the ball well and… on offense we created great things for ourselves, especially Sylven [Landesberg] was hot and we kept going to him."
Landesberg led all scorers with 26 points, of which 15 came in the game's final 10 minutes.
"Unfortunately in the fourth quarter we didn't manage to stop them, especially Landesberg, who had a very good fourth quarter and he scored everything," Coach Mihai Silvasan added. "The difference was our 24 turnovers. That’s a lot if you want to win a game in the EuroCup… We stayed with them for three quarters... We fought. We should have had some more courage in some moments."
Gran Canaria totaled 13 steals and scored 30 points off of Cluj's turnovers. Andrew Albicy led the visiting defense with 4 steals and Roko Prkacin and Ben Lammers had 3 each. All of Albicy's steals came in the second half.
After Cluj scored 43 points in the first half, Gran Canaria clamped it down to 11 in the third quarter and 16 in the fourth. The excellent perimeter defense saw Cluj shoot 2 for 11 from behind the arc in the last two quarters.
Overall, it was Gran Canaria's third-best defensive effort in terms of points allowed this season and the margin of victory was its second highest. In all of last season, the club held opponents to 70 points or less only four times and had a margin of victory of at least 20 once – in the semifinals against Paris Basketball.
Gran Canaria is already ahead of that pace and now it has a two-win gap atop Group B. Could it become the first team to ever successfully defend the EuroCup crown?