Overtime classic! SIG Strasbourg outlast Lenovo Tenerife, advance to Semi-Finals
NIZHNY NOVGOROD (Russia) - It was the first overtime game in Nizhny Novgorod, and it turned out into an instant classic. SIG Strasbourg pulled off an upset, taking down Lenovo Tenerife 88-86 in the Quarter-Finals, continuing their Cinderella run by making it to the Final Four for the first time in club history.
Turning point: It came down to big shots and who makes more of them. Teams were trading blows, Lenovo Tenerife tied the game on a pair of free throws by Sasu Salin late in the fourth quarter, and even though Brandon Jefferson missed the game-winning triple as time expired in Q4, he saved enough energy to do the damage in overtime.
His stepback three-pointer paired with an Ish Wainright bomb from the corner opened up a five point lead with a minute to play in OT. Tenerife managed to make it a one-possession game, had a chance to tie it with 10 seconds remaining, but Santi Yusta's three-pointer did not fall. Jefferson knocked down free throws, Marcelinho Huertas' three at the buzzer just set the final score at -2, but SIG's win wasn't in danger.
Game hero: Take a bow, Brandon Jefferson. The point guard played 39 minutes and 39 seconds in this one, knocking down four three pointers, finishing with 22 points and a whole lot of new fans he made in Nizhny Novgorod. His stepback dribbles drew a lot of "oohs" and "ahhs" from the stands.
Stats don't lie: It was all about hustle for Strasbourg. They outrebounded Tenerife 44-32, had a 21-3 advantage in fast break points, and won the game despite the fact that both of their centers (Ike Udanoh, Yannis Morin) fouled out before the overtime even started. The lack of size wasn't evident, they won the points in the paint 44-34.
Bottom line: The rebuilding of SIG Strasbourg has gone by extremely fast. Just a season ago, they were out in the Regular Season with a 4-10 record, and now they are two games from winning a prestigious European title. They await the winner of Hapoel Unet Credit Holon and Hereda San Pablo Burgos. Lenovo Tenerife end their path in the Quarter-Finals for the second straight season, this one surely hurts more since they were the team with the best record heading into the event in Russia.