Howard elevates Baskonia against a combative Real Madrid
Joan Peñarroya’s men savor the leadership of the Euroleague after a spotless December
MADRID, Dec. 29 (.) –
Cazoo Baskonia fulfilled and closed the year with a victory after beating Real Madrid (92-86) on matchday 16 of the Euroleague held this Thursday in a packed Fernando Buesa Arena, to add their eleventh consecutive victory in a pristine December and confirm the a good moment in form for a Basque team that virtually ascends to the top of the table.
The display of a stellar Markus Howard (28 points), added to the good work of Rokas Giedraitis (21) was enough to defeat a combative Real Madrid. Joan Peñarroya’s men extended their state of grace, with six consecutive victories in Europe (11/5) and another five in the Endesa League, to settle at the top of the ‘playoffs’ and add a key victory in their fight for the ‘Top 4’.
To have a year-end with a good taste in the mouth, those from Peñarroya prevailed over a white team that says goodbye to 2022 also at the top but loses a direct duel due to a fatal second quarter (35-15). The madridistas won’t have it easy on their return to competition, where they will have to face off against Barça on January 2nd at the Wizink Center in the Clásico league.
At the Buesa Arena, both teams brought out their main weapons in the first moments of the match. Thus, the locals once again demonstrated their great scoring ability, with a great Giedraitis (9p) and an effective Howard (2/3 in triples), while Chus Mateo’s men brought out their inner game with Edy Tavares, who was decisive in the two baskets (8p and 5 rebounds) to go ahead in the first quarter (24-28).
Even so, Joan Peñarroya’s men did not give up to turn the score around. With a 35-15 run in the second ten minutes of play, a spectacular Howard was once again decisive with 21 points and 5/7 on three-pointers at halftime. The American did and undid at his whim against a somewhat confused white defense before the great scoring success of the locals to reach the middle of the game with a wide advantage (59-43).
Unable to stop the outside shot from the Basques, Chus Mateo’s team came back a little more plugged in after the restart. The whites managed to reduce the lead to 5 halfway through the third quarter with a revived Tavares (15p and 11 rebounds) who got back into the game. However, another triple by Howard with two minutes remaining stopped the bleeding to maintain the local advantage in the third quarter (73-69).
With everything to be decided, the forces were equalized again in a calmer last quarter, with a lower scoring rate, typical of the defensive solidity of both teams on the track. Gabriel Deck (17p) threatened to return the advantage to the whites, but once again the local outside game dissipated any Madrid comeback attempt. Even so, Chus Mateo’s men did not stop trying, but the momentum from Vitoria was enough to increase the faith from Vitoria in an important season.
–RESULT: CAZOO BASKONIA, 92 – REAL MADRID, 86. (59-43, at halftime).
CAZOO BASKONIA: Darius Thompson (1), Markus Howard (28), Giedraitis (21), Dani Díez (-) and Kotsar (-) –starting five–; Hommes (12), Henry (10), Costello (12), Sedekerskis (2), Marinkovic (3), Kurucs (-) and Enoch (2).
REAL MADRID: Sergio Rodríguez (4), Musa (6), Abalde (-), Cornelie (9) and Tavares (15) –starting five– Llull (-), Deck (17), Yabusele (5), Poirier (2), Williams-Goss (16), Causeur (7) and Hezonja (5).
–PARTIALS: 24-28, 35-15, 14-26, 19-17.
–REFEREES: Radovic, Foudis and Peerandi. Fouled Costello.
–PAVILION: Fernando Buesa Arena.