John Holland made friends quickly with the Frutti Extra Bursaspor faithful after leading his team to a 96-89 come-from-behind victory in his first home game with the club.
Holland made fast friends in his home debut with Bursaspor
Holland had a relatively quiet fight half with 4 points in 10:07 on the floor and Bursaspor trailed by 9 at halftime. When he was called upon to enter the game 3 and a half minutes into the second half, the lead had grown and when Pierre Pelos scored on the ensuing possession, Mincidelice JL Bourg en Bresse led 48-64 and it looked like the visitors were about to run away with the game.
And then Holland took over. He scored three-pointers on three of his team’s next four possessions to give the fans and his teammates hope. Even as Pelos tried to match him shot for shot, Bursaspor had grabbed the momentum and once the Bourg shots stopped falling, the hosts went on a 15-2 to storm back and tie the game at 72-72 by the end of the third quarter.
Holland started that run with a triple, fed Metin Turen for a layup and scored another basket inside himself before forcing a turnover in the final seconds of the half that allowed Onuralp Bitim to tie it.
After exploding for 14 points in the third quarter, Holland made his big contributions in the second half on defense. With Bursaspor up by 1 midway through the quarter, he drew a charge from Bourg star Rasheed Sulaimon. Down the stretch, he sealed the win by grabbing the rebound after Bitim blocked a shot from Sulaimon and making 2 free throws. And then he drew another offensive foul, this time from C.J. Harris, on Bourg’s final possession.
He finished the game with 20 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, 6 rebounds and 1 assist for a performance index rating of 24. It was his highest PIR in a EuroCup game since January 2014 when he recorded 27 for Gravelines Dunkerque.
What made Holland’s game extra special was that he has only been a Bursa for a few days and this was only his second game – and first at home - since joining the club. And he made sure to let everyone in Bursa, from his teammates to the fans, just what he felt after the game.
“All my teammates, I can’t thank them enough. This is like my fourth day here. I appreciate them for helping me out. It was just a good win for all of us and hopefully, we keep it going,” Holland said. “The energy [from the fans] was crazy. I can't thank the fans enough. They energized us in the third quarter, brought us back and I appreciate them.”
If the relationship between Holland, Bursaspor and their fans continues to blossom, it could be a love story in the making. They get their next chance to shine together on Friday when Bursaspor hosts Umana Reyer Venice in a makeup game from Round 11.