Power Electronics Valencia overcame Efes Pilsen 62-56
Power Electronics Valencia improved to 3-4 in Group D and improved its chances to battle for a Top 16 spot by edging Efes Pilsen 62-56 in Spain on Thursday. Valencia ties with Armani Jeans Milano for fourth place in Group B, one win away from Efes, third at 4-3. Dusko Savanovic and Nando De Colo led the winners with 13 points apiece. Victor Claver added 10 for Valencia. Kerem Gonlum had 12 points for Efes while Kerem Tunceri added 10 for the guests. Valencia opened the game with a 10-2 run and kept a 14-9 edge after 10 minutes. Sinan Guler shined early in the second quarter and got some help from Igor Rakocevic and Gonlum to give Efes a 24-28 edge at halftime. The guests led for the best part of the second half but Savanovic followed back-to-back three-pointers with an off-balance running jumper to put Valencia back ahead, 55-51, early in the fourth quarter. Outstanding defense and a big triple by De Colo allowed Valencia to cruise to a very important win.
Nikola Vujcic got Efes going with a layup, as Valencia tried to run its offense through its big men in the opening minutes. Robertas Javtokas stepped up with a jump hook and Omar Cook added a jumper for a 4-2 Valencia lead. Efes struggled to get Rakocevic involved and its offense collapsed for more than 3 minutes. Meanwhile, Cook sank a long jumper and Florent Pietrus added free throws to give the hosts a 8-2 margin. Efes had missed 9 consecutive shots and a dunk by Javtokas forced coach Velimir Perasovic to call timeout at 10-2. Tunceri rescued Efes with a three-pointer and Rakocevic found his first points but Claver followed a fast break layup with free throws for a 14-7 score. as Valencia tried a new frontline with Savanovic and Serhiy Lishchuk off the bench. Bostjan Nachbar, now on court at power forward, stepped up with an up-and-under layup for 14-9 Efes deficit after 10 minutes.
Guler took over with a layup off a steal early in the second quarter and soon scored off the baseline to get Efes as close as 15-13. Lishchuk split free throws, as the game turned into a physical battle. Efes made the most out of it with a small lineup featuring Guler at small forward, as Tunceri and Nachbar hit foul shots to regain the lead, 16-17, after a 2-10 run. Pietrus got the crowd involved with a dunk but Lawrence Roberts and a put-back layup by Guler kept the guests ahead, 18-20. Cook and Gonlum did not miss from the foul line while Andrew Wisniewski scored off a midcourt steal for a four-point Efes lead, 20-24. Rakocevic hit free throws but De Colo beat the shot clock with a five-meter jumper and free throws by Javtokas and Savanovic kept Valencia within 24-26. A backdoor layup by allowed Efes to keep a 24-28 edge at halftime.
Gonlum kept pacing Efes with a put-back layup immediately after the break and Vujcic added a fast break dunk for a 24-32 Efes lead. Pietrus made free throws and Rafa Martinez scored in penetration to keep the hosts within 28-32. Efes controlled the defensive board but had problems to find open shots. Meanwhile, Claver sank a step-back jumper to make it a two-point game, 30-32. Vujcic and a red hot Claver traded jumpers but a backdoor layup by Gonlum gave Efes a 32-36 edge. De Colo buried a stop-and-pop jumper but Gonlum split free throws and added a three-point play to boost Efes' lead to 34-40. Savanovic and De Colo hit free throws but Tunceri gave Efes some fresh air at 37-42. De Colo found space for an uncontested dunk that Roberts erased with a jump hook. De Colo made foul shots and Lishchuk added a put-back dunk but a big three-pointer by Rakocevic gave the guests a 43-48 margin after 30 minutes.
De Colo made free throws early in the fourth quarter and Savanovic buried an open triple to tie the game at 48-48. Tunceri quickly answered from downtown but a second-chance layup by Javtokas and another three-pointer by Savanovic completed Valencia's comeback, 53-51. Efes called timeout but Savanovic stayed on fire with an off-balance driving jumper. Cook shined with a driving layup, as Efes struggled to score right when it mattered. Bootsy Thornton rescued the guests with a bomb from downtown and Vujcic scored in the paint to keep Efes within 57-56 with under 4 minutes left. Savanovic took over with a backdoor layup and De Colo sent the crowd to their feet with a critical triple, good for a 62-56 Valencia lead with 2 minutes to go. Valencia excelled in defense in crunch time and it was enough for all its fans to celebrate a well-deserved win in come-from-behind fashion!
Thursday, December 2, 2010