Harding hits a wild buzzer beater for Nymburk; Estonian champs stun Tofas
MIES (Switzerland) - Even a two-game day provides drama in the Basketball Champions League. Kalev/Cramo won their first ever game in the competition, and they've done it on the road in Turkey, but Jerrick Harding and ERA Nymburk grabbed the headlines in Greece.
It was never even supposed to be a close game. Czech champs had an 11-point lead with less than three minutes to play, only to see PAOK mateco go on a wild run and even grab the lead as Malcolm Griffin found Marvin Jones for an and-one layup with 5.0 left on the game clock.
Down 83-82, coach Aleksander Sekulic called for time and drew up a play for Vojtech Hruban. The Czech legend fumbled the ball, but it dropped perfectly for Jerrick Harding who showed elite understanding of the game clock and launched a one-legged shot. It dropped just in time, ERA Nymburk won it 84-83.
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"Credit to PAOK, they were really aggressive, and I think it got to us in the fourth quarter. It was a fight all night long, I'm just happy to get the win, honestly. I can't really say how I (made the last shot). I just saw the ball came loose, and I was like: Okay, we got to hurry up and get a shot up. That was all I was thinking. I'm just happy it went in," the lefty point guard said after the game.
Harding finished the game with 22 points, showing once again this could be his season in the BCL. Lukas Palyza went 5-of-5 from beyond the arc for 18 points, Colbey Ross came off the bench and scored 15 points, Hruban was also in double digits with 11, as Nymburk shot 15-of-30 from three-point range.
"We deserved this win. We played most of the game better, we took advantage of the fact that PAOK were missing a few players. This is a tough court to play, we're really happy that we won, especially with the way we won. But I think we need to play smarter in the last five minutes," coach Sekulic explained.
Four men scored 10 or more for PAOK mateco. Marvin Jones had 17 and 10 rebounds, David DiLeo 16, Vlado Jankovic 14 with 11 rebounds and 4 steals, and Malcolm Griffin did a bit of everything with 13 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals, but the Greek squad falls to 0-2, losing two of the closest games to Igokea and Nymburk.
"It's a hard pill to swallow. The only thing we can do is try and look at the positives, and the positive side is that we lost by one point. Hopefully we can go there, play a good game and come out victorious, win by more than one," Marvin Jones focused on the good side of being 0-2 in the group.
Famous first for Kalev/Cramo
Kalev/Cramo were facing a similar outcome as PAOK mateco, after losing their first game in the last second in Strasbourg, and playing a close one against Tofas Bursa. But Silas Melson and his teammates made sure that the Estonian champions picked up their first ever win in this competition, outlasting their hosts 81-77.
"You know that Tofas Bursa are a good organization, that's why winning here is a great feeling," Melson said. He put up 24 points off the bench, doing so in just 26 minutes of action, shooting 9-of-14 from the field.
JeQuan Lewis had 17 and 5 assists, including a massive three-pointer that kept Tofas at bay late in the game, and Davion Berry had three triples en route to 10 points for coach Roberts Stelmahers.
Tofas did have a chance to tie or take the lead with 20 seconds to play in the game, but Pako Cruz turned the ball over, allowing the visitors to seal the deal from the free throw line. Cruz had 17 points, Berk Ugurlu scored 16, Tomislav Zubcic and Emre Tanisan added 10 each, but Tofas and Kalev/Cramo are now tied at 1-1, with the difference that the Turkish team played two games at home, while Estonians were on the road two times.