14 March 2019 - Kirolbet Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz recorded its third consecutive win and got closer to clinching a playoffs spot by winning against Budućnost VOLI Podgorica 82-62 at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday.
Baskonia improved to 14-12 in the standings and ranks 6th overall, while Budućnost dropped to 6-20 and is 15th. Patricio Garino led the winners with 16 points. Marcelinho Huertas added 13, Shavon Shields had 12 while Vincent Poirier pulled down 13 rebounds for Baskonia. Norris Cole had 17 points to lead Budućnost and Earl Clark added 13. Baskonia led 23-15 after 10 minutes and kept a 39-34 edge at half-time. Garino took over late in the third quarter and early in the fourth period, as Baskonia boosted its margin to 71-49 and never looked back.
Clark and Cole gave Budućnost a 0-4 lead. Johannes Voigtmann and Shields stepped up for Baskonia, but Goga Bitadze and Cole kept Budućnost in charge. Poirier hit a jump hook, and Luca Vildoza made a triple before Cole scored twice in penetration. Huertas found Voigtmann for a wild alley-oop and Darrun Hilliard added a layup for a 23-15 Baskonia margin after 10 minutes. Shields took over with an alley-oop dunk and free throws by Jalen Jones capped a 14-0 Baskonia run, good for a 27-15 score early in the second quarter. Coty Clarke and Nemanja Gordić tried to change things for the guests, but Huertas and Hilliard restored a double-digit Baskonia lead. A three-pointer by Cole and baskets from Clarke and Bitadze made it a three-point game, but Shields and Garino stepped up to boost Baskonia's margin, which Nemanja Gordić cut to 39-34 with a coast-to-coast layup right before the half-time buzzer. Garino, James Bell and Clark all struck from downtown soon after the break, before Garino hit another and a jumper by Vildoza boosted his team's lead to 50-42. Hilliard, Shields and Jones each hit one from beyond the arc, Huertas added a mid-range jumper and a tip-in by Poirier broke the game open, 64-47, after a 14-3 run. A driving layup by Clark fixed the score at 64-49 after 30 minutes. Garino sank another triple early in the fourth quarter and a layup by Poirier sealed the outcome, 71-49, with 9 minutes left. Nothing changed after that, and Baskonia fans had plenty of time to celebrate a big home win.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action early next week. Budućnost visits Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul on Tuesday, and a day later Baskonia plays against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in the Greek capital for a pivotal showdown in the race for the playoffs.