Galatasaray holds onto road win
Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul did what they couldn't do last season by winning on the road at BLM Group Arena against Dolomiti Energia Trento for a season-opening 64-70 victory in Group D. The winners showed no signs of rust despite this being the first game of the season and led by 11-32 after the first quarter. Trento mounted an almost incredible comeback in the second half but fell just short in the end. Galatasaray's scoring leaders were Aaron Harrison with 20 points and Greg Whittington with 18 and 8 rebounds. Zach Auguste was also in double digits with 10 points. For the home side, Rashard Kelly led the way with 14 points while George King posted 12.
Galatasary led early, 2-6, behind threes from Harrison and Tai Webster. Trento kept chipping away but Galatasaray was on point from beyond the three-point line. Harrison landed another, the visitors' fourth already, to extend the lead to 7-15 before Lazeric Jones and Yigit Arslan struck again from downtown. Whittington and Arslan scores put the finishing touches on a quarter that saw the Turkish side lead 11-32 after 10 minutes. Trento responded with 5 unanswered points from Alessandro Gentile to start the second quarter. A Fabio Mian three extended that run to 8-0. Soon, King hit a triple in transition for the home side to give them hope but Harrison responded with his own three to leave the score at 34-51 at the half. King started the second half the same way he ended the first, from long range. Trento made that a 5-0 run with another Kelly score, cutting the lead to 12, and were soon down by as few as seven thanks to a Gentile basket. Harrison stopped the home team's momentum but Trento stayed as Toto Forray hit a free throw to leave it a 51-60 score after three quarters. The hosts got that back down to five early in the fourth with Forray and Craft on target and all the way to three thanks to a long jumper from Justin Knox. A basket by Kelly and a triple by James Blackman soon made it a two-point game. But Harrison scored five unanswered points in the next-to-last minute to end Trento's threat and send the victory back to Istanbul with Galatasaray.
It was Greg Whittington’s first game in the EuroCup and he exploded to life with 18 points. He added 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in a complete display for the winners.
Aaron Harrison scored 20 points on the night and hit 5 three pointers. But none were more important than his long-ranger with less than 2 minutes to play. Trento's confidence was building but that three ended the comeback and extended the visitors' lead to six with time running out.
Galatasaray's awesome display of three-point shooting in the first quarter laid the foundation for their impressive win. They were 6 of 8 in that opening 10 minutes and scored 32 points in total during the first quarter. They regressed in the three quarters that followed, but that opening quarter was clinical.
Did you notice?
Trento trailed by as many as 21 points at one point in the game. They managed to get that to as few as two the fourth quarter in what turned into a very promising performance under their rookie 39-year-old head coach, Nicola Brienza.
Trento travel to Montengro to play Buducnost VOLI Podgorica while Galatasaray will host EWE Baskets Oldenburg at home.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019