Trento gets first win at Buducnost
Buducnost VOLI Podgorica and Dolomiti Energia Trento both lost opening games in Group D last week and were desperate to avoid sinking to a 0-2 record. The nerves were palpable at Moraca in what was a tense and combative affair. It was the visitors, Trento, who would win the game by a score of 68-77. They led most of the way but let an 11-point lead slip at the end of the third quarter before regrouping and finishing strong for their first win of the season. James Blackmon led the way with 19 points for Trento. Rashard Kelly and George King both had 15 while Justin Knox chipped in with 11 points. Buducnost's better performers were Justin Cobbs, who scored 19 points, and Danilo Nikolic, who scored 13. They were helped with 11 from Scott Bamforth and 10 from Hassan Martin.
Blackom fueled a 3-6 start for the visitors, but Buducnost responded a triple off the fingertips of Suad Sehovic. The visitors came up with the next 8 points for an 8-16 advantage. Nikolic singlehandedly kept Buducnost close with a huge block, a three-pointer and a free throw to reduce the lead. Blackmon couldn't miss as he piled up 13 points of Trento's 18-23 advantage after 10 minutes. After a frantic start to the second, Trento led by six as they exchanged baskets. Things slowed from their but Trento kept their noses in front. Peter Popovic combined a three and a layup for Buducnost. Trento repelled the hosts' burgeoning comeback with scores from Alessandro Gentile and Kelly to leave the score at 30-37. King earned Trento's first double-digit lead from deep on the way to a 34-43 halftime advantage. Bamforth had a quick 5 points in the third quarter to trim the difference. Another emphatic slam dunk from Martin reduced the lead to six but Buducnost just could not get close enough to Trento to give them a proper scare. It wasn't for the lack of effort, or highlight plays though, as Nikolic hit a very deep three at the buzzer to reduce the lead to four again. Eventually, with enough stops and free throws by Cobb, Buducnost tied late in the third at 52-52. Cobbs hit a three to give the hosts their first lead since the first quarter as momentum deserted Trento and swung in favor of Buducnost. The third quarter finished 59-56 to set up a blockbuster final quarter. Trento snuck in front again with a Rashard two early in the fourth. The pressure Buducnost put Trento under seemed to make them better as Blackmon and Kelly gave them a lead of eight with time expiring. Buducnost's hope would not die though and they got it back down to four with just over a minute to play. Nikolic hit a three and their second comeback was well and truly underway. King responded with his own three and it was that clutch score that eventually broke Buducnost.
The lead changed hands several times between the end of the third and the fourth quarter. After a time-out and with just one point separating the teams, King launched from distance and gave the visitors a four-point lead with just over a minute remaining.
There were plenty of candidates for man of the match with Rashard Kelly and George King coming up big when it mattered for the visitors but James Blackmon, in his second game in the EuroCup, put in an awesome display of shooting with 13 points in the first quarter, which set Trento up nicely for the remainder of the game and helped them seal their first win of the season.
Did you notice?
Trento coach Nicola Brienza was particularly proud of his side's defensive effort, and that showed up on the stat sheet, too. They outworked their opponents and won the rebound battle 22-35. Kelly was one rebound away from a double-double with 9 to go with his 15 points. Every player who took to the floor for Trento on Wednesday night had at least one rebound.
George King was almost perfect from three-point distance, making 5 of 6 attempts. All 15 of his points came from downtown. He did not have a shot in the third quarter but took three in the fourth, all from beyond the arc, and all of them successful as he turned out to be the clutch shooter they needed in a nervy affair in Montenegro.
Trento welcome EWE Baskets Oldenburg to BLM Group Arena October 16th while Buducnost stay at home as they welcome Asseco Arka Gdynia to Moraca on October 16th also.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019