Valencia Basket got closer to clinch a Last 16 spot in Group D by thrashing Lukoil Academic 83-59 at home on Tuesday. Valencia moved up to 3-1 and will qualify to the Last 16 with another win. Meanwhile, Lukoil dropped to 1-3 and may be mathematically out if it loses next week. Tiago Splitter paced the winners with 18 points and 8 rebounds in his last game with Valencia. Stefan Markovic and A.J. Ogilvy each added 11 while Serhiy Lishchuk and Rafa Martinez had 10 apiece for Valencia. Bruno Sundov had 17 points for Lukoil while Lamont Mack added 10. Splitter allowed Valencia to get a 18-11 margin at the end of the first quarter. Lishchul and Martinez shined late in the first half to keep Valencia way ahead, 31-24, at the break. A layup by Nando De Colo gave Valencia a double-digit lead, 42-32, and an 11-0 run that Martinez capped with a three-pointer broke the game, 62-36, after 30 minutes, as Lukoil never recovered.
Mack going Lukoil going with a jumper and Andre Owens banked in a three-pointer for a 0-5 lead. Splitter stepped up with consecutive baskets in a 6-0 run that gave Valencia its first lead, 6-5. Stoykov scored in the low post but Lishchuk quickly answered with an easy basket. Splitter and Lishchuk took over with back-to-back dunks and a driving layup by De Colo made it an eight-point game, 15-7. Bozhidar Avramov downed a three-pointer but Ogilvy erased it with a three-point play for a 18-11 Valencia edge after 10 minutes. Mack scored in penetration and added a dunk to get Lukoil within 18-15. Valencia had been scoreless in the opening 4 minutes of the second quarter until Rodrigo San Miguel and Splitter made free throws. Sundov dunked it but Rihards Kuksiks erased it with a four-meter jumper. Sundov scored again but foul shots by Splitter gave Valencia a 25-19 margin. Both teams kept going to the foul line often. Lishchuk and Sundov traded free throws but Martinez downed a jumper for a 29-21 score. Free throws by Ogilvy and a three-pointer by Stoykov fixed the halftime score at 31-24.
Splitter and Owens traded baskets after the break but Mack sank a jumper to keep Lukoil within 33-28. Lishchuk and Sundov scored in the paint but a three-pointer by Markovic gave Valencia a 38-30 edge. Sundov sank free throws but Splitter erased those with a left-handed jump hook. A driving layup by De Colo restored a double-digit Valencia margin, 42-32. Stoykov buried a jumper but Martinez and Markovic struck from downtown to break the game open, 51-34, after a 9-0 run. Mack tried to change things with a layup but De Colo, Martinez and Ogilvy fueled an 11-0 run that sealed the outcome, 62-36, at the end of the third quarter. Owens stepped up with a layup and Sundov downed a three-pointer by Lukoil only managed to trade baskets early in the fourth quarter. Valencia found a new go-to guy in Ogilvy and back-to-back baskets by San Miguel kept his team way ahead, 68-43, with 6 minutes to go. Brandon Heath and Sundov struck from downtown but it happened to be too little, too late for the guests, as all Valencia fans were celebrating a pivotal win.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011