Valencia ends Zalgiris’ unbeaten run 14
Valencia Basket erupted for 57 second-half points in an 82-94 come-from-behind victory over Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday evening at Zalgirio Arena. The result handed Zalgiris its first loss of the season as it fell to 4-0, while Valencia improved to 3-1.
Bojan Dubljevic and Vanja Marinkovic scored 16 points apiece for the winners, Nikola Kalinic added 14 points, Klemen Prepelic 13, Louis Labeyrie 12 and Sam Van Rossom dished 8 assists.
For Zalgiris, Marius Grigonis and Augustine Rubit each scored 12 and Nigel Hayes and Joffrey Lauvergne had 11 points apiece.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Steve Vasturia and Grigonis helped the hosts race out to an 8-2 start. Marinkovic and Kalinic both connected from deep for Valencia to get within 11-10 before a Marinkovic layup gave the visitors their first lead, 14-16, midway through the first quarter. Lukas Lekavicius and Rokas Jokubaitis came off the bench to restore a Zalgiris advantage and Arturas Milaknis, with the team’s 7th triple of the opening quarter, gave the hosts a 27-22 lead after 10 minutes.
Hayes joined the three-point shootout to push the Zalgiris to 32-24, however, Derrick Williams got involved and quickly halved that Valencia deficit. Hayes heated up with a pair of jumpers and Rubit’s bucket in the paint created a double-figure advantage, 43-33. Dubljevic’s put-back cut into the deficit, but free throws from Grigonis left Zalgiris ahead 45-37 at the break.
Like in the first quarter, Kalinic and Marinkovic made early threes and this time Dubljevic joined them to draw Valencia to 49-48, which prompted a Zalgiris timeout. The stop changed little as a Dubljevic triple put Valencia ahead. Sam Van Rossom stepped up with a floater and Prepelic added 5 quick points to further extend the margin. Kalinic’s basket-plus-foul completed a 2-17 run that made it 51-60. Rubit stepped up for Zalgiris, but Guillem Vives ended the third quarter with a jumper that made it 57-67.
A deep three-pointer by Marinkovic 4 minutes into the fourth quarter gave Valencia its biggest lead, 59-75. Threes by Lekavicius and Milaknis gave Zalgiris hope at 70-80 with 3 minutes remaining, but Valencia, led by Labeyrie, continued to score with ease and marched to an impressive road win.