Joventut Badalona was unstoppable against “U” Cluj-Napoca
The 16th round of the Eurocup brought face to face 2 teams with the same goal, victory. Joventut secure home-court advantage in the eighth finals with a victory and U BT Cluj-Napoca will be eliminated if they lose.
The hosts start with Guy, Brodziansky, Feliz, Parra, and Tomic, Cluj responds with a debutant Szentkuti (17 years old), Bircevic, Cate, Meindl, and Richard. The first attack is made by the Spaniards who score through Brodziansky with 2 points, the answer comes from the young Szentkuti with 3 points. Cluj leads with 6 points after a triple by Richard 6-12, Ellenson equalizes at 21 but Richard is not satisfied and takes 2 free throws for a foul, scores one of them 2 and sets the score for first quarter Joventut – Cluj 21-22.
The 2nd quarter is still under the sign of balance, the match has rhythm and both teams score point after point. Gordic helps Cluj lead by 4 points 25-29 after 3 points, followed by 12 consecutive points for Joventut mainly due to Feliz’s two triples. Cluj seems unable to stop the Spanish offensive, at halftime the score is 51-40. Tomic is completely unstoppable from the action with 8 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Cluj has more turnovers 11 than assists 9, Meindl has 4 and Richard 3.
The 3rd quarter starts with a new triple from Guy, being the first to reach double digits, Richard-Meidl tries to keep Cluj in the match, and they both reach double digits 59-56. Ribas, Tomic, and Feliz manage to keep the match under control and the quarter ends 77-68. Cluj still hopes thanks, especially to Patrick Richard 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists but above all, he managed to get 8 fouls.
The 4th quarter started worse for Cluj, the Spaniards having a run of 8 points and Meindl reaching the 4th foul. There follows a period in which they miss a lot and Cluj seems to have no more breath to recover. In the end, at 92-75, Meidl is eliminated after an unsportsmanlike foul, Jones also a few minutes after. Joventut seems to be in a race towards the 100 points milestone, a goal reached in the last minute thanks to a free throw by Birgander.
Joventut (11-5) manages to win 104-81 and secure home-court advantage in the eighth-finals, although Cluj (5-11) is one of the most offensive teams in the competition, which is proven and tonight it is eliminated. Parra 18 points, Ribas, 15 points and Tomic’s 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists were the main scorers of the hosts. From Cluj Jones 16 points, 10 rebounds, Meindl 15 points, Patrick 15 points and Cate 14 points, 12 rebounds.
Image credit: EuroLeague