There’s no place like home for Bilbao as they never trailed en route to a 93-62 win over Panionios in Group L of the Eurocup Last 32.
The Liga Endesa side went on a game-changing 13-2 spurt early in the second quarter to lead 40-30 at half-time and then they held Panionios to just nine points in the third quarter as Bilbao led 69-39 after three, comfortably securing the win.
“We dominated from the start. We have done well, with energy,” Bilbao coach Rafael Pueyo Mena said afterwards. “We took a 9-2 lead and we lacked some toughness to stop their attacks when we were still in bonus. We closed the second quarter with great defence.
“It was very important for us to control the rebounds, and ten offensive boards gave us a lot of air. Best thing in the match has been the attitude of the players to leave the locker room in the second half. We understood that we had to break the game open. The point difference can be important for classification, and I’m happy with the result and the work of the whole team.”
Roger Grimau led Bilbao with 18 points as he was one of five players in double figures for the hosts.
German Gabriel added 15 points for the winners.
Errick McCollum dominated the scoring for Panionios as he scored a game-high 28 points, 16 of them coming from the foul line. Unfortunately, the American had no help with Marc Carter scoring 9.
“We have failed in both attack and defence, and that was crucial for our poor start in the third quarter,” Panionios coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos said.
“We have tried to react but we could not do anything against a great team like Bilbao Basket.”
Bilbao next play Russian side Nizhny Novgorod, while the Greek side travel to Belgrade to face Red Star.