U18 Next Generation Select Team nearly wasted a 23-point lead but fended off U18 Stellazzurra Rome 81-86 in the first game of Group B at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals. NGS led 26-49 in the second quarter but watched as Stellazzurra - a two-time finalist - fought back to within three points late. Pacome Dadiet paced NGS with 27 points and 7 rebounds while Mohamed Diawara scored 12 points and Zacharie Perrin added 10 points in the win. NGS committed 29 turnovers but held Stellazzurra to just 21.1 percent from three-point range. Stellazzurra’s leading scorer was Emmanuel Innocenti with 24 points while Eric Dailey Jr had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Matteo Visintin collected 14 points and an ANGT Finals record 10 steals and Lucas Fresno scored 10 points.
NGS avoids meltdown, fends off Stellazzurra
Luka Krajnovic scored four points as NGS jumped ahead 0-6. Dadiet began taking over with five points and it was 4-13 though Stellazzurra tried to stay close with Innocenti scoring four points and Dailey Jr. converting a three-point play to make it 14-21. Dadiet followed with a four-point play and Zinedin Mulic drained a triple in a 2-11 close to the first quarter and a 16-32 advantage.
Samet Yigitoglu had the first four points of the second quarter for the selection team to push the lead to 20 points. Visintin had four points at the other end to trim the deficit to 24-40. NGS did not slow down with Diawara tallying five points to increase the margin to 26-49. Stellazzurra punched back with 10 straight points - four each from Dailey and Visintin - but the gap was still 36-49 and NGS answered with a 0-8 run and went into the break leading 38-57.
Dailey’s three-pointer started the second half only to have Diawara answer from deep and the lead jumped to 41-63. Innocenti tried to get Stellazzurra closer with 11 points with the deficit down to 54-67. NGS punched back with triples from Mulic and Alexandros Samontourov and the score was 54-75. The selection team was up 58-77 after 30 minutes.
Stellazzurra was not ready to give up just yet with Fresno scoring five points in a 10-0 surge to pull within 70-79 with 5 minutes to play. Dadiet stopped the run with a three-point play but Innocenti drained a triple at the other end and Stellazzurra charged on with Dailey putting back a miss with 45 seconds to get within 81-84. NGS failed to convert at its end but Fabrizio Pugliatti’s three-point attempt with 5 seconds left was off target and NGS managed to hold on.