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Brock Motum returns to active duty and delivers in overtime thriller
Brock Motum has been on the outer with coaching staff at Valencia, having been sidelined for the past three EuroLeague games despite being fit. However when his number was called against powerhouse side Fenerbahce, Motum duly delivered.
Following a tight opening term, Fenerbahce was threatening to pull away from Valencia in the second as they tightened the screws defensively. Motum was injected into the game, and provided an immediate scoring spark by hitting a triple with his first shot. When he hit his second of the game, he had managed to keep the margin to just 10 at half time.
Try as they might, Valence were unable to make any inroads into the margin during the third despite closing to within 6 points, ensuring the visitors would have to come from 11 points behind at the last change if they wanted to have any chance of stealing a road win.
Motum scored the first basket of the final term to cut the margin back to single digits, as Valencia started their unlikely run. When Motum scored inside off an offensive rebound, the margin had been sliced to just 2 with just over 6 minutes to play. He would score again to keep the margin close, but when he came up with a steal and was fouled on the breakaway, he would make both at the line to make it a 1 point ball game.
His side would take the lead with just over 2 minutes to play before Nando De Colo re-took the lead via the free throw line. With the game on the line down the stretch, Motum, who had been little used over the best part of a month, was re-inserted back into the game. While he had his potential go-ahead jumper blocked with 6 seconds left, the mad scramble that followed resulted in Valencia coming up with the ball and hitting a put-back basket to take the lead by 2 with just 4 tenth's of a second to play. A timeout by Fenerbahce saw them advance the ball, before then executing a perfect inbound play that found De Colo under the basket to send the game to overtime much to the delight of the home fans.
De Colo continued to fire for Fenerbahce in overtime, with a triple opening up a 6 point margin. Yet Valencia would not be denied again, with Jordan Lloyd's three-point play with 8 seconds to play ensuring a thrilling 100-98 win.
"It's always tough to play in such a tough environment," shared Motum post game. "Fenerbahce is a great team with a great coach. I think we were lucky that we fought the whole game and put ourselves in a position to win. Unfortunately, we had some mental gaps at the end of regulation and De Colo got open. We fought back again in overtime and I think we deserved to win."
Motum would finish with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting (2-4 3PT) with 4 rebounds, and 1 steal in a season-high 22 minutes. His scoring output matched his previous season best of 14 which he registered in a big win against Bayern Munich. The victory allowed Valencia to improve their record to 7-9 and tied for 10th place.
Also in the EuroLeague, Zalgiris Kaunas broke through for a 98-73 win against Bayern Munich, snapping a nine-game losing streak. However the victory came about despite losing Jock Landale before the game, with the 2019 FIBA World Cup representative forced to stay at home due to an ankle injury.
Cameron Bairstow is also sidelined by injury having missed Rytas Vilnius' last two games, including a 74-76 heart-breaking loss to Umana Reyer Venice in Round 10.