Donetsk Win First Leg Over Bilbao


BC Donetsk defeated Basket Bilbao 71-63 in the first leg of their Eurocup Qualifying Round tie on Tuesday in Ukraine.

Ramunas Butautas' team will attempt to finish off the Basque club when the two meet again next week, and Donetsk will be hoping they don't end up regretting the failure to claim a comprehensive opening win after leading by as many as 21 points in the second half.

Marque Perry finished with a game-high 18 points for Donetsk with Christopher Owens contributing 17 along with three steals and two blocked shots.

Perry's three-ball midway through the third quarter gave the Ukrainian team a 51-34 lead and not long after, he sank a pair of free throws to extend the advantage to 55-34.

That was Donetsk's biggest lead of the game.

Bilbao still trailed 63-44 with 5:50 to play in the contest after Anthony Tucker buried another three-pointer for Donetsk and the home side were on top 67-50 with 3:19 to play following a lay-up by Milutin Aleksic.

That's when the Spaniards, looking to give themselves a chance in the second leg, made their move.

Croatia international Marko Banic made a lay-up and then converted two free-throw opportunities to trim the deficit to 67-54.

After Perry made a couple at the charity stripe, Bilbao's Javier Salgado made a jump shot and Spain international Alex Mumbru sank a pair of free-throws to close the gap to 69-58 with 1:39 to play.

Salgado then popped a three-pointer, leaving Donetsk on top by just eight with 1:00 to go.

When Tucker missed from long range for Donetsk, Mumbru rebounded and Bilbao had an opportunity to draw even closer.

However, Perry swiped the ball from Salgado and went in for a lay-up to make it 71-61 with 14 seconds remaining.

Donetsk's Ukraine international Arthur Drozdov then committed a cardinal sin, fouling Salvador Guardia when he was attempting a three-pointer but fortunately for the home side, the 35-year-old center made just two of three at the line.

Neither side scored the rest of the way.

Donetsk finished 11 of 23 from behind the arc while Bilbao were six of 28.

Chris Warren passed a fitness test on his ankle injury and played almost 14 minutes for Bilbao but failed to score.

Janis Blums led the visitors with 12 points.



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