Prometey fends off Hamburg, 87-79, to advance
Prometey Slobozhanske is the first team to reach the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals after it defeated Veolia Towers Hamburg 87-79 in their eighthfinals matchup at Arena Riga on Tuesday evening. Despite being without D.J. Kennedy and having Caleb Agada not enter the game, the No. 1 seed from Group A found a way to extend its winning streak to 12 games in the EuroCup.
Illia Sydorov paced Prometey with a game-high 21 points. D.J. Stephens, who was initially an injury doubt, had 15 points and 9 rebounds, while Gian Clavell and Ondrej Balvin scored 14 points apiece. Issuf Sanon contributed 13 points, too. For the visitors, Yoeli Childs recorded a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double and Harrison Cleary finished with 19 points. Ziga Samar and Lukas Meisner also reached double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The game was back and forth in the early going, but 5 straight points by Prometey's D.J. Stephens got the fans off inside Arena Riga off their seats. First, he detonated a big dunk, then he added a triple to make it 8-5. In fact, the threeball helped to calm down any potential nerves for Prometey. When Oleksandr Lypovvy nailed back-to-back triples with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter, Prometey had a game-high 24-14 lead and had gone 6-of-8 from deep (75.0% 3FG). If Stephens's dunk had earned a few gasps from the crowd, James Dickey looked to do the same with a thunderous slam off an Issuf Sanon assist, which made it 28-16. Hamburg scored 4 straight points to end the quarter, 8 points down, 28-20.
The second quarter began much like the first, but Hamburg could only trim the deficit to 6 points, 32-26, following a couple of made free throws by Christoph Phillips. That was as close as the visitors got, as Prometey soon put its foot on the gas, going on a 9-0 run to extend its lead, before an Ondrej Balvin triple opened a game-best 16-point advantage, 44-28. Childs tried his best to keep Hamburg alive, scoring 15 of his team's first 32 points, 44-32, and a late surge by the visiting team saw it close the first half with Prometey ahead by 8, 48-40.
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A slightly slow start to the third quarter could have played into Hamburg's favor, but it was unable to capitalize. Instead, when Stephens nailed a deep three-pointer at the midway point of the quarter, Prometey's lead was back to 12 points, 56-44. The threeball carried a lot of weight in this game, and makes from deep by Sydorov and Sanon helped Prometey reopen its 16-point lead in the closing stages of the quarter, 69-53. But, a Cleary triple make it a 13-point game, 69-56, entering the final 10 minutes.
Hamburg got the fourth quarter underway in terrific fashion, with Cleary and Childs combining for an alley-oop, which seemed to instill a lot of confidence among the visiting side's players. Soon after, it became the Harrison Cleary show. The point guard completed a three-point play to cut the gap to 5, 69-64, before making 2 free throws, which made it a 3-point ballgame, 69-66. With 7:23 left in the final quarter, Cleary scored a mid-range basket to get Hamburg as close as it had been since the first quarter, 69-68. That basket forced a timeout from Prometey, out of which Sydorov scored a big three-point to calm some nerves, 72-68. In fact, Sydorov was vital in the closing stages, nailing another triple soon after, 75-69, and completing a three-point play, 78-71. Stephens's deep three seemed to create some daylight, 83-74, with 3:25 remaining, but Hamburg kept fighting and made it 83-79 after going on a 6-0 run, which finished with Cleary stealing the ball and scoring a layup. However, Clavell then stole the ball himself before dunking on Meisner, 85-79. He scored a mid-range shot on Prometey's next trip down the floor, 87-79, which allowed the hosts to see out a well-earned first-ever win in the EuroCup Playoffs.