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El Herbalife Gran Canaria Gran Canaria turns on offense to top Buducnost (95-85)

Herbalife Gran Canaria used a huge first half and its best offensive performance in the EuroLeague to top visiting Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 95-85 on Friday. It was third consecutive win for Gran Canaria, whose record improved to 5-7 for a share of the 10th place in the standings. Buducnost dropped to 3-9. The hosts went on a 27-5 tear late in the second quarter that turned a three-point game into 56-31 lead. Nikola Radicevic orchestrated Gran Canaria’s offense with 12 points and 11 assists. Marcus Eriksson led all Gran Canaria’s scorers with 15 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting, while Ondrej Balvin collected 13 points and 7 rebounds in victory. Edwin Jackson finished with 15 points for Buducnost, Alen Omic scored 12, and Nemanja Gordic added 10 points and 6 assists.

A three-pointer from Earl Clark and a four-point play from Suad Sehovic helped Buducnost to an early 10-14 lead, but Gran Canaria took over from there. Anzejs Pasecniks scored 7 points, Xavier Rabaseda had his own four-point play and Eriksson nailed his first triple to get Gran Canaria to 26-20 after one quarter. Filip Barovic helped the visitors close within 29-26, but Eulis Baez hit a triple, Eriksson knocked down a pair, and Christopher Evans also struck from long range in a 14-0 run. Jackson’s runner snapped the visitors’ drought, but Eriksson’s corner triple opened a 48-28 lead and D.J. Strawberry had a dunk-and-free throw combination as the margin reached 25 points. Gran Canaria went into the break with 56-34 lead and Buducnost was hot to open the third quarter. Suad Sehovic and Jackson hit triples, while Clark had two jumpers that cut the deficit to 61-46. However, Radicevic got Gran Canaria going with a floater, then dished for dunks to Balvin and Rabaseda. Eriksson knocked down another triple in between, before Kim Tillie’s downtown shot opened 75-50 lead. Balvin had a three-point play to make it 82-57 at the end of the third quarter and Gran Canaria continued firmly in control in the fourth. Coty Clarke and Petar Popovic put together a 0-9 run for Buducnost that cut the deficit to 91-79 with 2:29 to go. Back-to-back triples from Danilo Nikolic and Popovic made it 91-85 with 1:29 remaining, but that’s as close as the visitors managed to get.

LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA, SPAIN – DECEMBER 14: Ondrej Balvin, #12 of Herbalife Gran Canaria in action during the 2018/2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 12 game between Herbalife Gran Canaria and Buducnost Voli Podgorica at Gran Canaria Arena on December 14, 2018 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. (Photo by Miguel Henriquez/EB via Getty Images)

Game-changing moment

Buducnost came within 29-26 and had possession midway through the second quarter, but Eulis Baez hit a three-pointer, then made a defensive save and launched a fastbreak that finished with a corner triple from Marcus Eriksson. It was a start of a 14-0 run and a 27-5 surge that broke the game wide open before halftime.

Stellar stat

Playing in its debut EuroLeague season, Gran Canaria set new highs in points (95), assists (26), performance index rating (119) in this game. It also tied the club record for three-pointers made (11).

Dishing and (no) scoring

Nikola Radicevic and Albert Oliver took turns orchestrating Gran Canaria’s offense. Radicevic dished 11 assists, and Oliver had 9, both career highs. However, Radicevic also had 12 points, while Oliver finished scoreless.

Road scoring

Buducnost has now played five road games with as many defeats. This was the first time they scored more than 70 points away from home.

Next game

In Round 13, Gran Canaria will try to make it four in a row against a fellow Spanish rival KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, while Buducnost will stay on the road at Anadolu Efes Istanbul.