Darussafaka holds off Trento
Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul held on for a hard-fought 73-69 win over visiting Dolomiti Energia Trento on Wednesday to get its Top 16 campaign in Group E off to a winning start. Darussafaka used its defense to build a 36-23 second-quarter lead, but the visitors answered with a 10-0 run to bridge the second and third quarters. Trento never led in the second half, but Darussafaka never led by more than 6 points the rest of the way, either. Eventually, Gary Browne and Bonzie Colson made key plays for Darussafaka to secure victory. Browne finished with 18 points, Jarrod Jones had 13, Mahir Agva scored 11, and Colson had 10 with 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 important fourth-quarter blocks for the winners. Alessandro Gentile paced the visitors with 17 points, Aaron Craft had 13 points and 7 assists, James Blackmon collected 13 points plus 7 rebounds and Rashard Kelly also scored 13 points in a losing effort.
Trento got off to a good start that included triples from Blackmon and Craft to open a 6-12 lead. Darussafaka was taking it inside early through Colson and Agva and cut the deficit to a single point, but Fabio Mian hit from long range for Trento to help the visitors lead 16-19 after the first quarter. Darussafaka opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run, which included a three-point play from Colson and a second-chance triple from Sinan Guler. The hosts held Trento to just a pair of free throws for more than 6 minutes and after Craft ended Trento's drought, Agva scored from close and long-range to help open a 36-23 advantage. However, Kelly hit a triple and Gentile made 3 free throws in the final second of the quarter to get Trento within 36-30 at halftime.
Blackmon and Jones traded triples, before Gentile and Craft cut into the deficit. A pair of close-range baskets from Justin Knox tied it at 45-45 with 3:25 left in the third. Berk Demir hit a triple and Doron Lamb had a runner and long jumper to give the hosts 54-49 going into the final quarter, but Andrea Mezzanotte hit a long jumper and Blackmon raced for a fastbreak dunk to get back within 54-53. Darussafaka was held scoreless for almost 5 minutes to open the quarter, but remained in front. Browne had an acrobatic layup and a three-point play to end its drought, but Trento answered with a pair of fastbreak baskets from Craft and Gentile to tie it at 59-59. But the visitors never went in front, as Browne answered with a triple. Jones and Kartal Ozmizrak kept Darussafaka in front before Colson banked a runner with 16 seconds left to make it 71-67 and Darussafaka held on.
Colson steps up
Bonzie Colson had both of his blocks in the final 2:05 of the game, including the one that forced a Trento turnover in the final 10 seconds. He also scored 6 of his 13 points in that span, including the final 3 points that sealed the outcome.
Playing in spurts
The visitors were held to just one field goal and 2 free throws in the opening 9 minutes of the second quarter and trailed 36-23, but then scored 7 points in the final 47 seconds of the half. Darussafaka did not score a single point in the first 4 and a half minutes of the fourth quarter, only to score 19 the rest of the way.
Trento had no offensive rebounds in the first half and then had 5 in the third quarter alone and 4 in the final 10 minutes, which kept Trento with chances to win down to the wire.
Next week in Round 2 of the Top 16, Darussafaka travels to face Segafredo Virtus Bologna, while Trento will be at home to welcome Partizan NIS Belgrade.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020