Prepelic leads Joventut to comeback win
Joventut Badalona defended its makeshift home court by gaining an exciting 88-84 comeback victory over Tofas Bursa, leaving both teams at 2-1 in Group H. The game was staged at FC Barcelona’s Palau Blaugrana due to weather damage to Joventut’s arena, and offered a high-tempo and closely-contested spectacle. Tofas established a double-digit lead before the break but Joventut roared back in the third quarter. The lead then regularly swung back and forth before Klemen Prepelic led the host to victory. Prepelic netted a career-high 37 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting, also converting all 12 of his free throw attempts and dishing 7 assists for a PIR of 45, the best in this season’s EuroCup. Conor Morgan scored 13 points and Joel Parra added 11 in victory. Sammy Mejia paced Tofas by making 4 of his 5 three-point attempts in a total of 20 points. Berkan Durmaz added 17 points and Devin Williams scored 15.
Prepelic made a fast start with a long two and a deep three, answered by Berk Ugurlu and Williams from close range. Tarik Phillip also struck from beyond the arc but 4 fast points from Morgan and another Prepelic triple kept Joventut ahead. Both teams continued to score freely and Tofas took its first lead, 16-18, with a pair of baskets from Williams. Joventut regained the advantage through Morgan’s threeball, but Durmaz helped make it 21-24 at the end of the first. DJ White’s big dunk extended Tofas’s lead early in the second, and deep strikes from Arturs Zagars and Parra were answered by Mejia’s three-pointer, Muhsin Yasar’s layup and White’s free throws, making it 27-35. Perrin Buford and Ugurlu traded triples before Williams made it a double-digit game. Durmaz and Yasar scored inside to protect that advantage, and it was 39-48 at the break. Kerem Kanter’s powerful slam and Morgan’s triple highlighted Joventut’s 9-0 start to the second half, tying the game at 48-48, before Ugurlu snapped that run with a driving layup. Kanter and Williams scored inside before Parra and Mejia netted from long-range, and another Parra triple gave Joventut its first lead since the first quarter, 62-60. That didn’t last long as Mejia beat the shot clock from deep, before Prepelic made a three-point play and White responded from deep to give the visitors a 67-68 edge with one quarter remaining. Mejia’s fourth three-pointer was answered by two more deep strikes from Prepelic, making it 73-71. Phillip tied it with a tip-in, but Alen Omic dunked and Xabi Lopez-Arostegui drained a triple dunked as Joventut edged ahead. Williams made a three-point play and Durmaz forced another tie, 78-78. Omic banked home a long two and Prepelic hit another threeball for an 83-78 lead with 2 minutes left. Mejia’s floater made it a one-possession game, but Prepelic was given three free throws by Phillip’s foul and Joventut’s hero took full advantage, making them all to ice the game.
Prepelic sets the tone early
Klemen Prepelic set the tone early on for another high-scoring display as he made a lightening start for Joventut, scoring the first 5 points for the home team and 8 of the first 12. That provided the springboard for a career night as he finished with 37 points, a club record and the joint-highest tally in this season’s EuroCup (Alessandro Gentile also scored 37 for Dolomiti Energia Trento in December). His PIR of 45 was the best in this season’s competition, and another club record.
Joventut battles back on the boards
Tofas dominated the boards in the first half, winning the rebounding battle 9-18 before the break. But Joventut competed much better in the second half, and the action ended much closer with Joventut taking 25 rebounds and Tofas 30.
Long bombs fall
Both teams enjoyed excellent shooting nights from beyond the arc, with Joventut making 14-of-29 three-pointers (48.3%) and Tofas converting 8 of its 17 attempts from long-range (47.1%). Prepelic (5-of-9) and Sammy Mejia (4-of-5) led the way for their respective teams, while Conor Morgan and Joel Parra both made a trio of triples for Joventut.
The teams will meet again Round 4, with their rematch taking place in Bursa next Tuesday.
Wednesday, January 22, 2020