The 2014 Eurocup champs were of course Spanish club Valencia, with the team hot off beating Real Madrid on the road in the Spanish ACB opener on the weekend. The Spaniards were put to the test on their travels this time as they edged past SLUC Nancy in France to open the Eurocup this season. In the other contest, another Spanish club meeting a French outfit on the road, with Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas beating Le Mans Sarthe Basket. The runners up from last term will be looking to go one better this season and got off to an ideal start.
SLUC Nancy vs. Valencia Basket, 71-74
Two time champion Valencia Basket was taken to the wire on the road against SLUB Nancy, but managed to emerge with a victory that was claimed in the closing seconds. The victory gave Valencia an early boost in Group C.
The game started as it would continue, with both teams trading buckets during the first quarter before Valencia managed to plunder and early 17-18 lead through 10 minutes. The guests matched their first frame score in the second and stopped Nancy at 16 points to open a 33-36 lead during the long break. The hosts finally picked up and started hitting from downtown in the third act to win the period 22-18 and take its first split lead, winning 55-54 after 30 minutes. The fourth went bucket for bucket again with the teams trading leads four times and tying seven times in the decider. Sam Van Rossom stepped up for Valencia from beyond the arc and settled the game with seconds to spare.
Bojan Dubljevic paced Valencia with 13 points, while Van Rossom provided 12 points in victory. Luke Sikma and Jon Stefansson grabbed 10 points apiece, with Sikma adding 7 rebounds.
Andy Panko and Benjamin Sene topped the losing effort with 13 points each, while Alando Tucker providing 12 points. Javon McCrea went close to a double-double with 9 points and 11 boards.
Le Mans vs. Gran Canaria Las Palmas, 74-79
Group B got underway with last season’s Eurocup runners up, Gran Canaria, downing Le Mans on the road in France. However, like the other game on the night it was a close fought contest which could have gone either way if Le Mans had managed to complete a late rally.
The hosts had started admirably, pouring in 24 points in the first act to hold a slender 24-22 lead at the first buzzer. Gran Canaria woke up in the second frame in defense and stopped Le Mans at 14 points and scoring 21 to ensure a 38-43 lead through halftime. The away team added to its lead in the third stanza by using a 16-19 run to open a 54-62 advantage after three quarters. In the last period Le Mans rallied, but ultimately the Spanish guests held on for victory.