04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
De'shawn Stephens (SASS)
Game Report
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Sassari grab first win, PAOK keep tiebreaker

SASSARI (Italy) - Dinamo BDS Sassari were able to secure their first win of the 2022-23 Basketball Champions League season, holding off a late comeback from PAOK mateco to narrowly escape with a 82-78 win.

Turning point: 
PAOK started the game shooting 29 percent from the field and trailed Sassari 19-14 after one quarter. Sassari then outscored PAOK by five points again in the second quarter to stretch their lead to 40-30 at halftime thanks to a buzzer beating layup by Gerald Robinson.

The third quarter was a high scoring affair, as PAOK and Sassari scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, but the fourth quarter was a frenzy, as PAOK battled all the way back from down 14 points. Trailing 80-78, Jalen Riley had a chance to put a stamp on PAOK's comeback, but his three-point shot just rimmed out, allowing Sassari to knock down two free-throws to seal the four-point victory.

Game heroes: Sassari's one-two punch of Eimantas Bendzius and De'Shawn Stephens were the driving forces in the team's win tonight, as Bendzius led them in scoring with 18 points along with 8 rebounds and a game-high efficiency rating of 24 on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point, while Stephens recorded a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, his fifth double-double in 18 BCL appearances.

Stats don't lie: Sassari dominated in points in the paint, outscoring PAOK 32-14, with frontcourt players Stephens and Jamal Jones (10 points) making multiple contributions down low.

Sassari also took better care of the ball, committing 12 turnovers, while PAOK had 16. The Italian side also swiped away 12 steals, tied for sixth most by a team in a single game so far this season. They dished out 23 assists as a team and became the second team this season in the BCL to have three players record more than five assists.

Bottom line: Sassari grab their first win of the regular season and improve to 1-3 in Group G and the Italian club will host JDA Bourgogne Dijon next on Tuesday December 13.

PAOK are also now 1-3 in the group and were led in defeat by Jalen Riley, who finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and 5-of-12 from three-point. The Greek club will host Unicaja in their next game on Tuesday December 13.

Both teams sit at 1-3 in Group G and remain alive for the next round, but PAOK still own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

They said:

"Very tough game. Very exciting game, but we came into this game knowing that it was a must-win and we played with a lot of energy tonight against a very tough team that played all the way until the last minute. I think we did a great job. It's a great step towards where we want to be, and we just got to keep this energy going." - De'Shawn Stephens, Dinamo BDS Sassari

"I agree with De'Shawn, it was a tough game. I thought that we played with very good energy and in the beginning, we entered the game strong. This is the first step to keep working in this direction for the cup." - Piero Bucchi, Head Coach Dinamo BDS Sassari

"I thought we battled the whole game. We didn't start off well, but we just kept fighting, kept battling and just came up short. If we play like that the whole game, we're going to be in good hands throughout the rest of the season." - Tyler Polley, PAOK mateco

"I want to congratulate Sassari for the win. I also want to congratulate my players for the effort and the fight that they gave. We are very disappointed because we had a big opportunity to win the game today because we had the last shot and the last chance to make a three-point shot and leave here with a big victory. First half, Sassari played very aggressive defensively and they controlled the game and the second half, went slowly, possession by possession and we came back. Life goes on, we go for the next game." - Aristeidis Lykogiannis, Head Coach PAOK mateco