By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Huertas banked 24 points (4/5 triples) and six assists while Poirier scored 20 points (8/10 from the field) along with three boards, two steals and an assist. Ilimane Diop put on a double-double with 13 points and ten rebounds.
The three of them combined for 78 PIR (29+24+25) while Gran Canaria led by Ondrej Balvin’ 16 points in addition to Eulis Baez’s 12 points had a total of 65 PIR.
Both teams came out on the floor with a plan to play simple pick ‘n’ roll and triangle offense but Baskonia faced some trouble scoring, unlike Gran Canaria which went ahead 21-9 early led by Balvin’s eight points and a big presence in the paint. However, the hosts quickly recovered thanks to the combos of Huertas and Poirier who nailed 21 points together (13+8) in the first half which was still Gran Canaria’s for the taking (42-39).
“We had a short squad for what was a big game, but there was a great, big effort from players and also the fantastic support of the crowd who supported us in the difficult moments. Toward the end, we were able to up energy levels, play well and win the game”, Baskonia coach Velimir Perasovic highlighted.
In the third quarter (16-9), both sides ‘cooled down’ as they couldn’t make a lot of open shots, especially the Gran Canaria squad which missed 12 shots in a row. Besides that, Baskonia also held an upper hand (55-51) thanks to Huertas and Poirier and after the latter’s steal and layup, they hit the double-digit margin (61-51) early in the fourth breaking the guests’ resistance and eventually securing the game.
Despite basically playing with just seven players (Ajdin Penava played four minutes near the end as the eight), Baskonia improved to 8-10 while Gran Canaria now holds a 6-12 record.
Huertas thought his team deserved more after two losses and he certainly made sure they get it: “It was do-or-die for us. We have been fighting in all the games, and we lost two in a row in this competition. We deserved a little more. Tonight everyone did a tremendous effort. We have a bunch of guys sick, but playing; we have a bunch of players out injured; today was a big win for us. It was a great effort.”
Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines EuroLeague