The Italian side came out on top thanks to Quinn Ellis’s game-winner.
Small details gave Trento victory over Aris
They say that basketball is a game of small details, and that was certainly the case when Dolomiti Energia Trento overcame Aris Midea Thessaloniki, 69-67, on Wednesday night.
A close first half was blown apart in the third quarter when Trento enjoyed 7-0 and 8-0 runs, and midway through the final period it looked like the game was over as the home team held a 65-52 lead.
After all, Aris is the lowest scoring team in the competition and was missing its two leading scorers, Roberto Gallinat and Vassilis Toliopoulos. In those circumstances, the prospect of the Greek team overturning a 13-point deficit in less than 5 minutes looked extremely remote.
A fightback by Aris
But Ronnie Harrell had other ideas. The Aris forward, who came into the game averaging 6.6 points with a high of 14 points during his rookie EuroCup season, exploded by scoring 10 points in 2:30, getting his team back to a single-possession game.
It was very close from that moment, and that’s when the small details took over – initially from the free-throw line.
First, with 58 seconds left, Lefterios Bochoridis could only split his attempts from the line, making it 67-65. With 31 seconds on the clock, Aris debutant Andreas Kalogiros was fouled in the act of shooting and had the chance to tie the game... but he missed both attempts.
Then, at the other end, Andrejs Grazulis was fouled with an opportunity to make it a 4-point margin with 15 seconds left... but he also missed both, despite having previously scored on all 12 of his trips to the line this season.
That left Aris with one more possession, trailing by 2. The red-hot Harrell, who finished with 24 points, took responsibility, attempted a three-point shot to win it with 4 seconds left... and was fouled by Grazulis. So Harrell had the chance to send his team ahead, but couldn’t continue his hot streak as he missed the second attempt, and overtime seemed to be beckoning.
Quinn Ellis to the rescue
But in the final and most decisive small detail of the game, Quinn Ellis took the inbound pass and refused to be denied by the intense Aris defense, driving hard to the glass and releasing a layup which took a kind bounce off the rim – perhaps the most important small detail of them all – and dropped through the hoop.
In the end, after 6 missed free throws in the final minute and a friendly bounce, Trento had the win it needed to stay in Group B’s playoff places.