By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maik Kotsar posted career-highs 23 points and 10 rebounds, Darius Thompson had 21 points, 11 assists plus four steals to lead Baskonia past a tough ALBA Berlin 93 – 87 to make a decisive step towards securing a spot in the playoffs.
“Every win in the EuroLeague is huge,” Thompson said. “We played with energy in the second half. The last few games we weren’t our normal selves and we hadn’t been having fun so the key was to enjoy the game and play hard.”
Thompson and Kotsar cooperated several times during the game, as the guard’s assists led to 11 points by the big man. One of their connections came at an important moment, when Thompson sent the dime to Kotsar in the pick n’ roll and the latter put Baskonia up 87 – 81 with 58 seconds to play. It was the largest lead for the hosts in a very close second half, after trailing 80 – 81.
Maodo Lo cut the margin at 91 – 87 with eight seconds to play but two free throws by Thompson sealed the victory for Baskonia that is now 16-15 and back in the postseason zone in the standings.
Lo scored 15 points and Yanni Wetzell had 13 points and eight rebounds for ALBA that came close to beating another playoff contender and set the standing ablaze after bringing down Anadolu Efes last week. Thanks to a 0-19 run (!), the German recovered from a 25-15 start and took a 25-34 lead, closing halftime ahead 44 – 48.
Baskonia caught up and retook the the advantage as the game remained very close with many multiple changes until the final minutes.
No time to rest
With three rounds left in the regular season, Baskonia can’t relax since the next game takes place Friday vs. Fenerbahce.
“I am happy for a very important win for us,” Baskonia coach Joan Penarroya said. “ALBA played a good game, we had a lot of problems to achieve this victory. Tonight we will enjoy the victory and tomorrow we start preparing for the next game against Fenerbahce.”