The last time Germani Brescia Leonessa played at home in the 7DAYS EuroCup, the Italian side suffered a historic debacle. But head coach Vincenzo Esposito and his men helped the local faithful forget that loss and even boost their dream of a Top 16 spot.
Brescia’s 87-83 victory over Joventut Badalona was the first time it played at Palaleonessa A2A since falling 35-61 to Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul in Round 4 on October 23. That game was full of historic lowlights for Brescia, including the fewest points by any team in EuroCup history; the fewest field goal attempts made (12); and the lowest team PIR in EuroCup history (0).
What a difference a couple of weeks can make. Against Joventut, Kenneth Horton set his career-high in scoring in the first half already and finished with 21 points and Brescia connected on 34 field goal attempts while finishing with a team PIR of 95.
The Brescia faithful must have felt like they were on Cloud Nine early in the fourth quarter with the team leading by 19 points. They maybe were even looking back to find out by how many points Joventut won in the first match-up between these teams to maybe pick up the head-to-head advantage in a tiebreaker - it was a 13-point defeat in Spain back in Round 2.
However, Joventut raced back into the game with a 2-18 rally to make it a 3-point game. And the only thought for the team and its fans was just not losing the game after that big of a lead. Luca Vitali came up with a huge three-point play and Andrea Zerini made some big plays down the stretch in helping Brescia improve to 4-3.
Joventut is also 4-3 with three games to play - just like Darussafaka, with all three teams behind 5-2 UNICS Kazan in Group C. But Nanterre 92 and Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana are both down at 2-5 and would need a drastic improvement in results to stay in the race for the Top 16. All that means that Brescia’s home win over Joventut not only helped erase some of the historically bad memories of the team’s last home game but also kept their dreams of the next stage alive and well.