Johnson helps Darussafaka overcome Andorra in thriller
Group A winner Darussafaka Istanbul concluded its 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season by edging MoraBanc Andorra 68-69 for an exciting road win. It was a real thriller, which was close all the way, with no more than 6 points separating the teams during the second half. In the end it all came down to the final shot, but Jaka Blazic missed and Darussafaka held on to improve to 8-2, while Andorra exited the competition with a 3-7 record. JaJuan Johnson led the scoring with 19 points, all of which came in the second half, and Will Cummings added 16 for the winners. Blazic was outstanding for the home team, scoring 18 points and taking 5 steals. OIiver Stevic added 11 points and John Shurna 10 in defeat. A poor night of three-point shooting condemned Andorra, with the hosts making just 3-of-22 long-range attempts (13.6%).
A low-scoring and closely contested start featured 4 points for Furkan Aldemir, while opposing big man Przemek Karnowski limped off with an ankle injury. Blazic went coast to coast to make it 11-8, but back-to-back scores from Michael Eric ended the first quarter at 15-12. A three-point play from Blazic made it an 8-point lead early in the second, and a trio of free throws from the livewire Blazic extended the lead further as Darussafaka continued to struggle without injured offensive leader Scottie Wilbekin, but another Eric dunk sparked a 0-6 run to gradually tighten up the scoring before Aldemir left the floor with a facial injury. Another Darussafaka run levelled the scoring at 27-27, and a triple from Muhammed Baygul finished the first half at 31-32.
It stayed close early in the third quarter as Blazic’s triple was answered by a pair of close-range scores by Johnson, but Darussafaka then eased ahead as Johnson continued to pile on the points, making it 48-52 at the end of the third. There was nothing between the teams in a low-scoring start to the final quarter notable for a high-flying dunk from Howard Sant-Roos, before Moussa Diagne and Johnson both threw down alley-oops to set up a grandstand finish. Stevic’s lay-up for Andorra made it a 1-point game with 5 seconds left and Darussafaka turned it over to give Andorra another possession, but Blazic couldn’t convert his mid-range jumper and the visitors held on.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017