Valencia Basket got a crucial 64-72 away win over Lukoil Academic on Tuesday, in Sofia, Bulgaria, to go atop the Group D table with a 2-1 record.
Academic opened the scoring from downtown before a 0-12 run for Valencia gave it the lead and they never looked back! Nick Caner-Medley had an outstanding performance by draining 27 points in 23 minutes, Tiago Splitter amassed 9 points and 12 rebounds and Nando De Colo chipped in 8 for Valencia. Todor Stoykov paced Academic with 17 points, Bozidhar Avramov nailed 13 and Damjan Stojanovski 8.
Lamont Mack opened the scoring from downtown for Academic, but the answer from the 2010 Eurocup winners was amazing, a 12-0 run capped by an astonishing dunk by De Colo. Eurocup's all-time scoring leader Todor Stoykov nailed a triple to close back within 10-14 and heat the fans, Florent Pietrus found two easy in the open court for 10-18, while three consecutive free throws posted by Stojanovski and Avramov made it 15-18 after 10 minutes. Rihards Kuksiks and Nick Caner-Medley highlighted an 11-0 run for Valencia for a 19-30 advantage at the midway point of the quarter. Avramov hit a three for the hosts, Splitter scored a jump-hook while Pavel Marinov and Caner-Medley exchanged free throws to go on 24-36. Caner-Medley again and Mack scored the final basket to be 28-38 for the visitors at halftime.
Medley remained on fire coming back from the lockers with back-to-back three pointers answered by Stoykov to stay 34-44. Pietrus dunked and a Brandon Heath basket from long distance put Academic within 37-46. Akida McLain slammed in between back-to-back baskets by Splitter to make it 41-52 with three minutes left in the quarter. Rafa Martinez from beyond the arc extended the difference to 43-57. Stoykov drove to the rim and Splitter from the foul line fixed the final 47-60 at the end of the third quarter. Former Valencia guard Avramov dunked and hit a three-pointer to close to 54-61, but Serhiy Lishchuk established again a double digit cushion at 54-64. Stoykov sounded the charge for the hosts by scoring free throws and an easy layup after a ball stolen by Mack to go 58-64. Then Splitter and Bruno Sundov exchanged baskets underneath before De Colo iced Valencia win with a layup and 2 free throws to make it 62-70.