Trento edges Gran Canaria, both qualify to Top 16
Dolomiti Energia Trento held off visiting Herbalife Gran Canaria 79-76 on Wednesday night, an outcome that qualified both teams into the Top 16 from Group D. Trento needed a victory to move to the next stage, and Gran Canaria could afford a loss by fewer than 25 points to qualify, too. Both teams now own 5-4 records with a game to play and qualified alongside group leader ASVEL Villeurbanne to the Top 16. Jorge Gutierrez led Trento with 18 points, 4 assists and 4 steals, Dominique Sutton collected 15 points plus 10 rebounds, and Shavon Shields also had 15 points. Dustin Hogue was also in double digits with 10 points for Trento. Anzejs Pasecniks scored 12 and Gal Mekel dished 7 assists to lead the visitors, who had eight players finish with at least 7 points in defeat.
Toto Forray opened the game with a three-pointer and Shields scored inside, before Gran Canaria opened its tally with fastbreak points from Oriol Pauli and Eulis Baez.
But those were only baskets in the first six minutes. Shields also hit from downtown, and so did Gutierrez to make it 11-9. Trento extended the lead from the free throw line before Diego Flaccadori made a runner and Ojars Silins hit a long jumper for an 18-11 lead after 10 minutes. Albert Oliver had a three and an easy two early in the second quarter, but Gutierrez and Hogue, the latter with a three-point play, extended it to 25-18. Lucas Fischer had two close-range baskets for the visitors, but Beto Gomes and Yannick Franke nailed back-to-back three-pointers that gave Trento a 33-24 advantage. Triples from Mekel and Marcus Eriksson helped Gran Canaria cut into the deficit, but a pair of put-backs from Sutton kept Trento in front, 43-37 at halftime.
Shields scored 6 straight points to help open a 50-40 cushion in the third quarter, but a dunk by Balvin and a transition triple from Eriksson boosted the visitors. Both offenses struggled to find their rhythms and Trento went into the fourth quarter up by 9 points after Hogue scored from close range and Gutierrez from long range. Silins hit from downtown to make it 60-48 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, however, Gran Canaria answered with a 0-11 run during which D.J. Seeley hit a triple and Xavi Rabaseda raced for a fastbreak dunk. Rabaseda’s triple tied it at 64-64, but Gomes and Gutierrez each hit a three-pointer to give the hosts a 72-66 lead. Pasecniks and Baez gave the visitors some hope, but Sutton came up with two dunks that kept Trento up 78-71. Gran Canaria forced 3 turnovers in the final minute to get within 78-75 with 5 seconds remaining with possession. Mekel made the first and intentionally missed his second free throw, but Sutton grabbed a defensive rebound and Trento held on.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017