AEK, Sassari end 2019 on a high note - Gameday 9, Wednesday roundup
MIES (Switzerland) - AEK and Dinamo Sassari will enter the New Year as solitary leaders of their respective Regular Season groups, after prevailing against direct rivals on the final day of Basketball Champions League action for 2019.
Meanwhile JDA Dijon and Telekom Baskets Bonn will end the year as joint leaders of Group D, while Anwil Wloclawek and Casademont Zaragoza claimed potentially vital wins in the race to advance to the Play-Offs.
Let's have a closer look at the eight-game Wednesday slate:
AEK 91-78 Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem - Group B
AEK had more gas left in the tank in the final stretch of a tight game of runs that featured 22 lead changes and pulled away late to celebrate a 91-78 victory in front of their jubilant fans in Athens.
The Greek side entered the final frame on a fragile 68-66 lead, as neither team had managed to earn a significant advantage at any stage up until that moment.
A Howard Sant-Roos layup 7:26 from the final buzzer however instigated a 14-3 AEK run, which Linos Chrysikopoulos capped with a triple with 2:28 left on the clock for the hosts to claim the biggest lead of the night, 88-73.
Sant-Roos and Keith Lanford finished with 18 points each to pace AEK, with the Cuban forward also adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists. For Hapoel, TaShawn Thomas had a near double-double of 21 points and 9 rebounds in a losing effort.
AEK have now improved to 7-2 while Hapoel slide to 6-3 and second place in the group.
Dinamo Sassari 92-89 Turk Telekom - Group A
Sassari had the final word in a dramatic clash between the previously joint leaders of Group A, as the Italian team overturned a 9-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge out Turk Telekom 92-89.
The hosts claimed the lead midway through the second frame and appeared to be tightening their grip when they stretched the gap to 57-46 with less than seven minutes remaining in the third stanza, only for Turk Telekom to storm back and rally to a 79-70 lead with just over six minutes left to the final buzzer.
Michele Vitali however drilled a big three to stop the rot and Dwayne Evans came up with a huge putback off a Curtis Jerrells miss to put the hosts back ahead, 91-89 with 22 seconds remaining.
Turk Telekom called a timeout and drew a play for a Kyle Wiltjer three-pointer, but the Canadian's shot bounced out and his countryman Dyshawn Pierre came up with the rebound with 3 seconds on the clock.
The visitors promptly fouled Pierre who split his free throws and Wiltjer's desperation shot from the half court line rimmed out in dramatic fashion, for Sassari to celebrate the win.
Vitali paced Sassari with 20 points, while T.J. Campbell finished with a game-high 26 points for Turk Telekom in defeat.
Anwil Wloclawek 100-90 San Pablo Burgos - Group B
Anwil poured in 25 points in the final six minutes to topple Burgos 100-90 in front of a jubilant home crowd in Poland, and strengthen their bid for a spot in the Play-Offs.
Burgos started off strong and jumped to a 17-5 lead but Amwil used a 24-8 burs to balance proceedings and claim the driver's seat.
Anwil were ahead for the entire third quarter but Burgos came back and jumped back ahead in the fourth. With the Spanish team leading 76-75 and 6:12 left on the clock, Rolands Freimanis knocked down a huge three-pointer that instigated a 9-0 Anwil run.
The Spanish team stopped the rot but Chris Dowe drilled another triple, 2:43 from the final buzzer, to stretch the home lead to 90-79 and Anwil held on with ease in the remaining time.
Six Anwil players scored in double digits with Tony Wroten leading the way with 20 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds, while Ricky Ledo had 19 points and Shawn Jones came up with a double-double of 11 points and 17 rebounds.
For Burgos, Earl Clark finished with a game-high 24 points and added 6 rebounds while Vitor Benite chipped in with 22 points.
JDA Dijon 92-71 Neptunas Klaipeda - Group D
Dijon used a perfect 12-minute stretch in the first half to open up a 22-point gap and turned back Neptunas after the interval to ultimately cruise to a 92-71 victory at home.
Axel Julien produced his best display in this BCL campaign so far and led the way for Dijon with 21 points and 10 assists, also adding 5 steals and 4 rebounds.
Richard Solomon chipped in with 15 points while Deividas Gailius finished on a team-high 17 points for Neptunas in a losing effort.
The French side shifted gears midway through the opening quarter, when the scores were tied at 12, and raced to 49-27 lead shortly before the half-time buzzer-
Neptunas however came back from the locker room after the interval with renewed determination and reduced the deficit to just eight points, 64-56, shortly before the end of the third frame.
Dijon however started off the final stanza on another burst to reestablish their double-digit lead and put a definite end to any hopes of an epic comeback by Neptunas.
Bonn used a late rally to turn the tables on Brindisi and secure an important 101-93 victory at home which enables them to stay tied with Dijon at the top of the group standings.
With Brindisi leading 79-78 and 6:04 remaining on the clock, Branden Frazier drilled a triple from the top of the key and on the next possession he assisted Stephen Zimmerman, who gave the hosts a 4-point cushion.
The German team made the most of their dominance in the frontcourt, as they out-rebounded the visitors 43 to 34 and scored 64 of their points in the paint, a feat made easier thanks to their admirable 71 percent two-point field goal percentage.
Bojan Subotic led six Bonn players in double figures with his near double-double of 15 points and 9 rebounds while Benjamin Simons also had 15 points and Anthony DiLeo added 14 points.
Brindisi's Tyler Stone had a monster display of 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in defeat.
Bonn have now improved to 6-3 on the table, while Brindisi slide to 4-5.
Zaragoza held Besiktas to just nine points in the third frame to claim the lead and survived a late charge to top the Turkish team 80-73 and jump to joint-third in the Group D standings.
After a Shaquielle McKissic layup reduced the deficit to 75-71 with 1:18 remaining, Zaragoza turned the ball over for the third consecutive possession, in an apparent shift of momentum in Besiktas's favor.
The Turkish side choose to go for a triple that would have reduced the gap to just one point, but Toddrick Gotcher's shot fell short and youngster Carlos Alocen drilled a three in transition for Zaragoza to restore a seven-point lead with just 30 seconds left.
Zaragoza came up with 9 blocks and held Besikta to an eye-wateringly poor 7 of 39 from beyond the three-point arc.
Alocen and Dylan Ennis had 17 point each for the winners, while Jordan Theodore also finished with 17 points for Besiktas in defeat.
Zaragoza improve to 5-4 on the table and are tied with Falco in third spot, while Besiktas slide to 3-6.
Emanuel Terry poured in a season-high 25 points,11 of which in the final frame, to propel Bandirma to a valuable 89-81 win over Antwerp at home.
Bandirma led for almost the entire game but found it impossible to shake off the persistent Belgian visitors, until the fourth quarter.
With the scores tied at 66 and 8:12 remaining to play, Omar Prewitt hit a triple and sparked a 10-0 run to give the hosts their first double-digit lead of the night.
Antwerp fought back again, but after they reduced the deficit to 81-79 the Turkish side replied with a mini-run that Terry capped off with his last alley-oop dunk of the night to stretch the gap to 87-79 with just 72 seconds left on the clock.
Terry had 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block to go with his 25 points while Prewitt finished with 18 points and 4 boards. For Antwerp, Luka Rupnik collected a double-double of 14 points and 10 assists in a losing effort.
Bandirma have now improved to 4-5 in the Group B standings while Antwerp have dropped to 2-7.
VEF Riga 64-71 Peristeri winmasters - Group C
Peristeri went on a 10-0 run just before the half-time break to pull away from VEF and held off the hosts down the stretch to secure a 71-64 road win that boosts their chances of advancing to the Play-Offs.
The visitors scored 36 points in the paint, compared to VEF's 18 poinst, as the hosts took more three-pointers than two-pointers, but shot only 10 of 31 from beyond the arc.
Big man Yanick Moreira was dominant inside and collected a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, also adding 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Veterans Panagiotis Vasilopoulos and William Hatcher chipped in with 15 points and 4 assists apiece, while for VEF Lester Medford finished with a team-high 14 points and 7 assists.
The Greek side have improved to 6-3 in the standings while VEF have dropped to 1-8 and their bid to reach the Play-Offs now hangs from a thread.