MADRID — Sevilla’s first trip to Madrid this year began much like their season — terribly.
The club, which started 0-5 and is suffering from some bizarre coaching issues, struggled early against Estudiantes. They gave up 24 points on 69 percent shooting in the first quarter and trailed 42-32 at halftime.
But, as dejected Estudiantes head coach Txus Vidoretta said afterward, Sunday featured “a game of two games.”
Estudiantes missed all 14 of their three-point attempts in the second half, and Sevilla took advantage, earning an 82-65 victory to improve to 2-5 on the season.
Estudiantes, who suffered their second straight double-digit loss, drops to 2-5. They remain one place ahead of Sevilla in the standings thanks to a better point differential.
The turning point of Sunday’s game came in the third quarter, when Sevilla’s young stars Guillermo Hernangomez and Kristaps Porzingis combined for 14 points.
Hernangomez started the comeback on the first possession after halftime, grabbing an offensive rebound and finishing with a two-handed dunk. Several minutes later, Porzingis lobbed the ball in to Hernangomez, who spun baseline and finished at the rim to cut the Estudiantes lead to four.
Then Porzingis took over. The 19-year-old Latvian created several turnovers and scored six straight points, including a crucial mid-range jumper that tied the game at 50.
Berni Rodríguez sank two free throws to give Sevilla a 52-50 advantage, and they held the lead for the rest of the night.
Estudiantes looked optimistic at one point in the fourth quarter when Jaime Fernández found Uros Slokar in front of the rim. The Slovenian center finished easily and Estudiantes trailed 58-55.
But Pierre Oriola and Derrick Byars each responded with a basket, and three consecutive Sevilla three-pointers soon followed, pushing the lead to 71-55 and burying Estudiantes.
It was a resilient performance from Sevilla, who earned their second consecutive ACB victory. Their streak will be in jeopardy next week when 7-0 Real Madrid visits southern Spain.
Meanwhile, Estudiantes will look to rebound from their two-game losing streak as they hit the road to take on 4-3 Zaragoza.
Both games will be played on Sunday, Nov. 23.
Baloncesto Sevilla – 82 (11 + 19 + 24 + 26)
Derrick Byars – 19, Berni Rodríguez – 13, Guillermo Hernangomez – 12, Kristaps Porzingis – 11, Pierre Oriola – 9, Alex Urtasun – 8, Nikola Radicevic – 8, Ondrej Balvin – 2
Leading rebounder: Porzingis – 11
Club Estudiantes – 65 (24 + 18 + 11 + 12)
Nacho Martín – 18, Diamon Simpson – 10, Uros Slokar – 10, Xavi Rabaseda – 8, Jaime Fernández – 7, James Nunnally – 5, Javi Salgado – 4, Fede van Locke – 3
Leading rebounder: Martín – 9
Austin Green runs LosCrossovers.com from Madrid, Spain with the occasional help of his friends and colleagues. He will be reporting on the ACB and the people connected to it throughout the next few years.