08 October, 2019
04 October, 2020
22 Stefano Gentile (SASS)
to read

Sassari blame long break for loss, gear up for win-or-go-home showdown in Burgos

SASSARI (Italy) - Dinamo Sassari, the only team to have abolished homecourt advantage in the Round of 16, were gracious in defeat on Wednesday night but were convinced they would not find themselves in this predicament were it not for a lack of game rhythm.

The Italian team, who fell 84-81 to San Pablo Burgos at home in Game 1 after climbing back from a 17-point deficit in the third quarter, attributed their slow start to a long period of inactivity.

Sassari had last seen action on February 14th, when they lost to Happy Casa Brindisi in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals. The Sardinian team were scheduled to play Cantu in the Italian league last weekend, but the games were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Congratulations to Burgos because they played very well, especially in the first half when they scored 51 points to take a big lead," said Sassari head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco.

"We hadn't played for about 18 days so we came out a bit rusty. We were used to playing frequently and we paid a price for not playing in such a long time. The first half was in my opinion a result of that long break."

Sasssari head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco says his team has a 50 percent chance of winning on the road in Game 2

Sassari guard Stefano Gentile echoed his coach's view. "We definitely paid for those three weeks without games and [on Wednesday] we weren't able to get out and play with our usual energy right from the start," Gentile said.

The Italian side found themselves trailing Burgos 51-37 at the end of the first half, as Vitor Benite caught fire early on. The Brazilian guard finished with 30 points on 7 of 10 from behind the arc.

"The largest part of players in Europe today need to get into rhythm and if Benite, who is a very hig-level player in my opinion, scores like that early on in the game, his confidence skyrockets and he becomes even tougher to defend," Pozzecco said.

"Our guys have a great sense of responsibility so when things don’t go well, they can't just don't care about it, they suffer.

"But you know, it's better like that, because indifference in basketball is not acceptable. I am content with our reaction and the intensity we showed to come back, but obviously in the end fatigue got the best of us."

Sassari stormed back in the third frame and even grabbed a four-point lead momentarily, but Burgos regained their composure and the two teams went into the fourth stanza with the scores tied at 68.

"We could have lost control of the game in that stretch but our team was solid, despite getting into foul trouble, and we managed to hang on in the final quarter," said Burgos head coach Joan Penarroya.

" We didn't play our most brilliant game down the stretch but we came away with this victory which I think is well-earned."

While the Spanish coach said he will only think about next week's Game 2 back home after the Saturday clash with Fuenlabrada in the Spanish Liga Endesa, Sassari are already looking forward to proving that it will be an entirely different game if they are at their best during 40 minutes.

"We have to build on all that we showed during the third-quarter comeback, now we're going to play in Rome before travelling to Spain, and in Burgos we'll have a 50 percent chance of winning," said Pozzecco.

"I am convinced that the most important thing for us will be to find the attitude that brought us such great results earlier on, we have to feel happy doing what we are doing and I am certain that in Burgos it will be a completely balanced game."

Gentile added that there are a lot of useful takeaways from Game 1 that Sassari has to keep in mind for the do-or-die second clash.

"As the game went on, we sort of found ourselves, our way of playing," the Italian international said.

"I think that defensively we found the right path to follow, and we need to add to that continuity during the 40 minutes.

"We're going to play in Burgos with our backs to the wall, but we know now that we'll have a say in that game."