Valencia Basket shrugged off a two-week break in the action and cruised to a comfortable 86-68 victory at home over Frutti Extra Bursaspor in a Round 7 make-up game in Group B. Valencia, playing its first game in any competitions since December 23, raced ahead 19-3 in the early going and never allowed Bursaspor to get within nine points the rest of the way. Jasiel Rivero led the way with 24 points, while Xabi Lopez-Arostegui scored 14 and Klemen Prepelic 11. Bojan Dubljevic contributed 12 rebounds and seven assists as Valencia bounced back from its Round 8 home loss to Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana to improve to 5-3 tied for third place with Virtus Segafredo Bologna. Bursaspor fell to 3-5 despite Allerik Freeman scoring 25 points and Egemen Guven tallying 18.
Valencia led 5-0 following a Josep Puerto triple before Kevarrius Hayes got the guests on the board after more than 2 minutes. Bursaspor’s offensive struggles turned into nightmares as the visitors made just 1 of 9 two-point attempts and missed their first eight three-point tries. At the same time, Lopez-Arostegui drained a three-pointer, and Rivero had 4 points in a 14-1 run to put Valencia ahead 19-3. Metin Turen tipped in a miss to finally get Bursaspor scoring again, and the deficit was 23-7 after 10 minutes. Onuralp Bitim and Freeman started the second quarter with triples to cut the gap to 26-13. Valencia was successful at the other end, getting points from Louis Labeyrie and Rivero to stay up 36-17. Bursaspor finally got some defensive stops and picked up seven straight points to trim the margin to 36-24. Mike Tobey responded, and Valencia held a 42-27 advantage at the break.
After Jaime Pradilla’s free throws opened the second half, Guven started to really heat up, scoring 12 straight points for Bursaspor. But Pradilla countered with four more of his own, and Lopez-Arostegui added 5 points to maintain a 55-37 Valencia lead. Freeman managed 7 points over the rest of the quarter to keep Bursaspor within 62-48 after 30 minutes. Hayes started the final period with a bucket, and Freeman’s three-pointer cut the difference to 10 points, 63-53, the closest the visitors had come to Valencia since the early minutes of the game. Rivero countered with 4 points, and the Valencia advantage was restored at 69-55. Bursaspor would not give up, and a Bitim layup made it a single-digit game, 74-65, with just more than 3 minutes to play. Lopez-Arostegui came up with two free throws and a tough layup to end that threat as Valencia’s defense held Bursaspor to just three more points and the hosts pulled away to the final 18-point difference.
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