Strasbourg are in: PAOK drop out after missing free throws for the win
THESSALONIKI (Greece) - It doesn't get any closer than this. PAOK mateco had three free throws at -2, with a chance to win the game and send the Play-In series back to France. Instead, David DiLeo missed two shots, time expired, SIG Strasbourg won the game 80-79 and advanced to the Round of 16 with a Play-In series sweep.
Turning point: PAOK held a slim five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but it was gone thanks to a John Roberson masterclass. The point guard knocked down three straight three-pointers in the fourth quarter, then added three free throws to the mix, and wasn't done just yet, getting the go-ahead runner to make it 80-78 inside the final minute.
PAOK mateco drew up a play for David DiLeo, who missed the first three-pointer, but grabbed his own rebound and drew a foul on another three-point attempt with 1.8 left on the game clock.
DiLeo, who missed a total of two free throws all season long in 2020-21, and is shooting 20-of-21 from the stripe in the Greek League in this campaign, couldn't get the first one to drop, meaning PAOK lost a chance to win the game from the line.
It went from bad to worse soon. After knocking down the second shot, DiLeo missed the third one, and time expired as teams battled for the rebound, ending PAOK's European season.
Game hero: Jarell Eddie had another big first half and led the scoring with 19 points, but it was all about John Roberson to lead the team in the fourth. The point guard bounced back from missing Game 1 by scoring 14 of his 16 points in the final stanza in Thessaloniki.
♨️ @JDRIV03 put on a clinic in 4QT, scoring 14 of his 16PTS to send @SIGStrasbourg to the #BasketballCL Round of 16! pic.twitter.com/JMwlJoDDSx— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 12, 2022
Stats don't lie: It's a make or miss league, and PAOK missed their chance. They went 6-of-21 from the three-point line and just 19-of-26 from the free throw line, compared to SIG's 12-of-29 and 16-of-20 from the same respective distances.
Bottom line: SIG Strasbourg threw their one-two punch and delivered the knockout in two games. They will now join Falco Szombathely and Rytas Vilnius in Group L, waiting for the last opponent in the Lenovo Tenerife v Pinar Karsiyaka series.
"Hats off to PAOK, they made it tough. Coach said to just stay in the game, stay together, and we were able to do that. We were able to overcome their run, the big run they had in the third quarter, and we were able to get (John) Roberson going for us in the fourth. We're looking forward to (Round of 16), this was always a goal for us, and we made it second straight year. This is an honor for us, I think we can match up with any team." - DeAndre Lansdowne, SIG Strasbourg
"I need to give credit to PAOK, I know quite well how hard times they had over the last couple of months, unfortunately because of the situation in life, some injuries, missing players, but they showed heart." - SIG Strasbourg head coach Lassi Tuovi
"We tried a lot, we had a very good effort for 35 or 36 minutes. We couldn't handle their reaction in the end, although we messed it up a little bit, we had a chance to win the game and force the third game." - Vlado Jankovic, PAOK mateco