Tenerife escape Tofas Bursa late push, grab 1-0 lead
SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA (Spain) - After Lenovo Tenerife led by as many as 18 points, Tofas Bursa came back in the second half, only to fall just short at the final buzzer, 78-77, in Game 1 of this Quarter-Finals series.
Turning point: Tenerife raced out to a 31-17 lead after one quarter with Sasu Salin scoring 17 of those points and knocking down 5-of-6 three-pointers.
Tofas were able to cut their deficit to nine after three quarters (57-66). Tofas went on a 16-4 run that stretched across the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. They got to within two points on multiple occasions and even within one-point with a little over two minutes left.
Pako Cruz sunk a step-back three to tie the game at 77 with 18 seconds left, but a shooting foul at the other end of the court on Marcelinho Huertas gave Tenerife a chance to go ahead with 2 seconds left. Huertas made the first free-throw and then intentionally missed the second, meaning that Tofas had ultimately fallen short of completing the comeback.
Game heroes: Salin was a sniper from three-point tonight, shooting 8-of-12 en route to his game-high and season-high 27 points.
Salin is the only player to have made 6+ three-pointers in multiple games this season, as he already has done it three times
Big man Giorgi Shermadini almost recorded a double-double, chipping in 17 points and 9 rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
Stats don't lie: Like in previous games for Tenerife, a key factor in the game was their shooting beyond the arc, as they made six more threes than Tofas (11-5), outscoring them by 18 points from deep.
Tofas' five threes were the fewest by a Turkish team in a BCL game this season.
Tenerife also doubled up Tofas in assists (22-11).
Bottom line: Tofas had balanced scoring, as three players including Cruz, Elgin Cook and Eigirdas Zukauskas all scored 14 points each.
Tenerife have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Quarter-Final series after grabbing home court advantage in this Game 1.
The Spanish club have now won their last eight BCL games, their longest winning streak in the competition.
Tofas will host Game 2 in Bursa, Turkey on Tuesday April 12 at 19:00 where they will look to stay alive and force a Game 3.
They said: "Obviously it wasn't easy," said Tenerife's Salin. "For me, it felt like we were ahead for long or we had the game in control, but there were other times close. In the last seconds they tied the game, and it went to the last shot of [Marcelinho's] free-throw. A lot of credit to them. We didn't play our best game, but happy for the win. In these playoffs, it's all about the win, so it was important."
"It was a tough game, they're a really good team," said Tenerife head coach Txus Vidoretta. "We started really well with our focus on Sasu Salin against Pako Cruz. He scored many threes and we played with a big difference since the beginning, but really soon in the game, I felt that we were not top level, only Sasu. When you are not top level in the Quarter-Finals of this competition, every team is a good team. ... This is the best thing for tonight, the result."
"We know that Tenerife is a very good team in their home court," said Tofas head coach Ahmet Caki. "They have a good atmosphere here. ... In the first quarter, we couldn't stop Sasu Salin. We know that this is a series, and we have another game on our home court and for sure we will use the experience of this game. We want to win this home court game and comeback here again."
"Tough game. We started kind of slow I would say, and we let Tenerife to feel their game," said Tofas' Zukauskas. "We let their shooter to feel the shot and after that, it took a lot of energy and desire to comeback and make the score equal which we did in the second half, but at the end, Tenerife came up with the win."