Umana Reyer Venezia guard Rayjon Tucker played some of his best basketball down the stretch to lift his team to a come-from-behind victory over Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana.
Rayjon Tucker's bag of tricks was on display late against Cedevita
Playing in Europe for the first time is never easy for any player. Often, newcomers might struggle to find consistency. However, one way to know if you have a special player is to see how great he can be in his best moments.
For Umana Reyer Venice guard Rayjon Tucker, his performance in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's come-from-behind victory over Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana was proof of just how much of a difference-maker he can be. Tucker scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as Reyer erased a 12-point deficit to win the game 95-87.
Tucker was at the heart of the comeback. When he raced down the floor for a dunk a minute into the fourth quarter, it showed that he was not ready to give in even though Cedevita was up by 10. Tucker's first three-pointer of the night capped a 9-0 run that made it 79-81 with 5 minutes to go.
His next triple was the go-ahead basket to make it 87-84. Down the stretch, Tucker added a game-clinching slam and 2 more free throws.
All of this came one week after Tucker slumped to a season-low 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting in a 74-68 road loss at Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul.
Against Cedevita, Tucker led his team in minutes played with 32:08 as well as in +/- with plus-17. That means in the nearly 8 minutes in which Tucker was on the bench, Cedevita outscored Reyer by 10 points!
Tucker's shooting and athleticism were on full display in the fourth quarter as all of his baskets were momentum-shifting plays.
In addition to his 19 points, Tucker tied his season-high with 6 rebounds and set a new personal best with a performance index rating of 21. He raised his season averages to 13.5 points and 4.3 rebounds.
Reyer is now on the cusp of the playoff zone in Group A and heads into a pair of road games at Wolves Vilnius and Prometey Slobozhanske. Wins in those games could dramatically boost Reyer's standing in the group. If Reyer gets the version of Rayjon Tucker we all saw in the fourth quarter on Tuesday for those games, it will be a formidable opponent.