Between the midway point of the third quarter and halfway through the fourth, the visitors took over.
Valencia impressed on defense in a big road win at ASVEL
Valencia Basket returned to winning ways in style in Round 13 of the 2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season. In particular, its defense stood out.
Valencia allowed just 22 second-half points as it blew out LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 55-78 on Friday night. After suffering five successive defeats coming into this week, Alex Mumbru's squad beat Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade 85-81 before using Friday's performance to complete a perfect double-round week and get back to a winning record, 7-6.
"Coach [Mumbru] got us in the right mindset," Semi Ojeleye, Valencia's leading scorer with 16 points, said after the game.
"He told us to believe in each other, that we are the same team that won those games at the beginning [of the season]."
A strong start followed by a slide
Valencia began the EuroLeague season with five wins in the first six games and was allowing just 70.8 points per night. Since then, Valencia's average of points allowed went up to 77.3, mostly because Valencia gave up more than 80 points in each of the last three games, including 90 or more twice.
On Friday night, Valencia held its opponent below 60 points for the first time since March 2021. And for the first time in a road game since February 2020.
"We played great defense in the second half," commented Coach Mumbru. "[For] 7 or 8 minutes, we played great defense."
And while the visitors' defense seemed solid throughout the game, Mumbru was referring to the period that started midway through the third quarter, when ASVEL was up 41-39, to the 5:15 mark of the fourth, when Valencia had a 45-62 lead.
During that 4-23 spurt, which included a 0-14 run to end the third quarter, ASVEL was limited to no field goals and just 4 free throws.
ASVEL woke up in the fourth quarter, cutting the gap to 9 points, 55-64, but Valencia ended the game with a 0-14 run.
When all was said and done, ASVEL was left with 18 turnovers and 39 missed shots on 60 field-goal attempts, including just 4-for-25 from three-point range.
A night of differing emotions
Even the usually upbeat ASVEL head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco could not find a positive after seeing what Valencia has done to his offense, which had scored 90 or more points in each of the last three games.
"It's the first day since I am here that we had a bad loss," said Pozzecco.
On the other side of the equation, maybe the win was not the prettiest, but the Valencia players did not care.
"It is a beautiful [win] for us — they scored [just] 55 points," Damien Inglis pointed out. "We are a good defense team, and today we just showed it."
Leaning on its defense is certainly the way Valencia plans to move forward, but everything now looks brighter with a 7-6 record.