AEK, Brindisi claim hard-earned home wins - Play-Offs Week 3 Tuesday roundup
MIES (Switzerland) - AEK and Happy Casa Brindisi each delivered on Tuesday similarly hard-nosed displays at home to hold off SIG Strasbourg and Tofas Bursa, respectively, down the stretch.
While both the Greek and the Italian team picked up a second home win in a row, the French and Turkish sides are left on the cusp of elimination from the race to the Final 8, as they both now have to dig themselves out of a 0-3 hole in their respective Play-Offs group.
Here's a closer look at the two games that lifted the curtain on Play-Offs Week 3 action on Tuesday:
AEK 77-68 SIG Strasbourg -- Group K
AEK were six players short but dug deep and went on a 14-2 run halfway through the fourth frame to overcome SIG Strasbourg 77-68 in a tight clash were neither team led by double digits.
Strasbourg led for almost the entire first half but AEK balanced proceedings by halftime and the team traded blows after the interval, with the lead changing hands on seven occasions.
The visitors were leading 64-61 with 5:48 remaining in the final stanza when Linos Chrysikopoulos knocked down a triple from the top of the key to tie the scores.
Strasbourg misfired on the other end and the Greek forward drilled another three-pointer from the exact same spot, to give AEK a 67-64 lead.
The French team stopped the draught momentarily but Dimitris Moraitis and Kingsley Moses followed Chrysikopoulos's example from downtown, and then Moraitis capped off AEK's burst with a lay-up 2:55 from the final buzzer that stretched the Athenian team's lead to 75-66.
Keith Langford paced AEK with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the floor, also adding 2 assists and 1 steal, while Chrysikopoulos finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block. For Strasbourg, Jaromir Bohacik had 14 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists in a losing effort.
AEK, who had to play in Tuesday's game without Jonas Maciulis, Yanick Moreira, Marcus Slaughter, Nikos Gkikas, Nikos Zisis and Vlado Jankovic, now have two wins in as many games in the Play-Offs and have jumped to first place in Group K.
By contrast, Strasbourg, who were forced to play after their leading scorer Bonzie Colson sprained his left ankle shortly before the game, slip to 0-3 in the group standings and are facing an uphill struggle in the final three-game stretch.
Happy Casa Brindisi 77-75 Tofas Bursa -- Group I
Happy Casa Brindisi used an inspired third-quarter stretch to jump ahead of Tofas Bursa and then survived a late comeback attempt by the visitors to clinch their second consecutive win in Group I, 77-75.
The Turkish team meanwhile have now suffered their third straight defeat and are left with a mountain to climb if they want to advance from to Play-Offs group to the Final 8.
Tofas had the chance in the dying seconds to at least send the game into overtime but, after Semaj Christon split two free-throws, he grabbed his own rebound and drew another foul but then missed both of his free-throws.
Brindisi led for most of the opening half but Tofas came back and claimed a 41-38 lead right with the start of the third quarter, but that was the last time they would enjoy the view from the driver's seat.
Darius Thompson scored with a jumper 8:46 from the third buzzer, Tofas turned the ball over and Nick Perkins sunk another shot from midrange for Brindisi to take the lead.
Tofas stopped the rot late in the third period but Brindisi had turned the 41-38 deficit to a 65-54 cushion and held on tooth-and-nail to the lead in the final minutes, albeit not without some luck as the Bursa team missed their crucial free-throws.
Josh Bostic, the last player to join Brindisi before the trade deadline, delivered another great performance as he scored 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor, while Nick Perkins collected a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Tomislav Zubcic had a near double-double of 19 points and 9 rebounds for Tofas in defeat.