Gran Canaria secures playoff berth with 57-60 triumph in London
In what became a defensive battle, Gran Canaria pulled out a valuable road win from the Copperbox Arena when it defeated London Lions 57-60 on Tuesday night. Despite enjoying a double-digit lead after 30 minutes, the visitors were limited to just 9 points in the last period and had to wait till the last second to seal the win from the line.
John Shurna led the winners with 13 points, followed by Nicolas Brussino and A.J. Slaughter, who contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively. Sam Dekker paced London Lions with 18 points and 6 rebounds and Kostas Koufos posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards. Gran Canaria improved to 10-2 and secured its spot in the playoffs, while London slipped to 5-7 with its third straight home loss.
The visitors started strong on defense and only allowed a fastbreak dunk by Dekker in the first 4 minutes to build a 2-8 lead. Even though Koufos provided 5 quick points to push the home team ahead, 9-8, Gran Canaria reacted in style, securing the rim, and controlling the boards to finish the first quarter ahead 11-17.
It was 15-21 in the beginning of the second quarter, with both teams exchanging turnovers and missed shots. Ferran Bassas took advantage of a technical foul called on Taylor to score from the line and later added another bucket to bring his team up 17-26. The guests tried but couldn’t escape because of a below-par shooting. Even though Mo Soluade ended a 17-minute drought from behind the arc to help London find some scoring momentum and trim the difference to 3 points, Shurna showed up from the corner to close the first half with a huge buzzer-beating three that established a 26-32 edge for Gran Canaria.
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Gran Canaria lifts the trophy!
Gran Canaria celebrates on the court!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Diop's big block!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Bassas's buzzer-beater!
7DAYS Magic Moment: Balcerowski throws it down!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Bassas's tricky basket!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Balcerowski's big dunk!
7DAYS Magic Moment: Diop's huge slam!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: London turns defense into offense!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Nelson beats the buzzer!
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7DAYS Magic Moment: Brussino bats it away!
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A technical foul on the London bench and back-to-back three-pointers by Brussino and Slaughter helped the visitors amass a double-digit difference, 26-39, early in the third quarter. Despite Dekker’s efforts to bring his team back to the game, no one else joined and Gran Canaria found no problem to maintain a safe margin, 40-51, after 30 minutes.
The scenario radically changed when the game resumed, as the home team geared up defensively and the visitors collapsed on offense. A double technical foul on Damien Inglis helped London reduce the gap to 50-55 midway through the last quarter, helping the local fans feel the game again. John Shurna showed up to drill a tough three that made it 50-58, but that would be the last field goal for Gran Canaria in the last 4 minutes of the game. As such, London managed to come back and get as close as 57-58 when Dekker made a layup with 5’ seconds remaining. The visitors managed to get the ball then to Brussino who took charge from the line to secure the outcome.