Caja Laboral finally shook off the challenge of GBC Lagun Aro, taking their Copa del Rey quarter final 72-65.
Down ten at the half, Lagun Aro definitely had their more illustrious neighbours worried, after Jimmy Baron’s 16 points in 11 first half minutes as Lagun Aro overcame a 17-16 first quarter deficit, putting up a 22-11 period to lead by 10 at halftime.
Mirza Teletovic got it going early, but it took until the second half for his teammates to join in, and some physical interior defense was allowed to proceed by the referees, Lagun Aro taking full advantage. Caja Laboral were on the ropes and the hot shooting of Jimmy Baron was proving impossible to stop. Raul Neto had some problems with running the point, not quite on the same page as his teammates, but he showed why he’s such a hot prospect by getting to the rim on several occasions. Lagun Aro were moving ball well and stepping confidently into mid range jumpers.
That all changed in the second half as Caja Laboral wrested back the momentum on an extraordinary 23-3 run during the third quarter. Lagun Aro’s first half decisiveness turned to hesitancy and Milko Bjelica and Mirza Teletovic went to work. Bjelica finished with 22 for the game and took advantage of an exemplary pick and roll service from veteran Pablo Prigioni. All the young Montenegrin had to do was finish the chances Prigioni set up for him, but he did this with a minimum of fuss.
Lagun Aro stormed back in the fourth, a 9-2 run on a layup plus the bonus from Vidal, a three from Baron and another from Panko brought the deficit back to a single point, but when they needed a cool head, instead they turned the ball over, Sergi Vidal and David Doblas the culprits. Brad Oleson played superb defense as Baron tried to close a five point lead to two, and when Bjelica went up the other end and finished a layup plus the foul to push it to 8 with 49.1 seconds remaining it was game over.