Hannah fires Andorra to dramatic win over Joventut
MoraBanc Andorra gained its first win of the Top 16 in dramatic fashion by downing Joventut Badalona 90-89 at the death to seriously dent the visiting team’s hopes of progressing. Neither team was able to establish a commanding lead as both offenses flowed freely throughout the first half. The game then descended into a succession of free throws until Clevin Hannah netted from deep with 2.6 seconds remaining. Hannah paired 10 points and 6 assists for Andorra, for whom Dejan Todorovic and Moussa Diagne top scored with 15 points. David Jelinek added 14 and David Walker 11 in the victory. Klemen Prepelic led the visiting team with 22 points, but missed 2 crucial late free throws, while Nenad Dimitrijevic scored 14 and Luke Harangody 12. Joventut now has to hope that Unicaja loses Wednesday against Tofas Bursa to avoid elimination.
The early scoring was fast and furious, as Bandja Sy produced a highlight play with a big slam and Perrin Buford netted a triple at the other end. Todorovic dished a pair of nifty dimes for Nacho Llovet to finish from close range before Prepelic heated up with consecutive triples to keep it close. Tyson Perez's bucket sparked a 6-0 run to send Andorra ahead, but Harangody netted back-to-back threes to make it 24-26 at the end of the first. Alen Omic’s circus shot opened the second quarter before Jelinek beat the shot clock from deep and then added 2 more triples for a 33-28 lead. Another big dunk from Sy maintained the lead until Albert Ventura and Kerem Kanter sent Joventut briefly ahead, but 6 straight points from Todorovic swapped the advantage again. A three-point play from Dimitrijevic sparked a 0-7 run to send the visitors in front, but Diagne’s dunk on the halftime buzzer made it 47-48 at the break.
Walker twice netted from deep early in the third and the hosts went up 59-50 with an alley-oop jam, completing a 12-0 run as Joventut struggled to get moving before Harangody and Omic scored inside. Todorovic kept Andorra ahead from deep and, although consecutive inside scores from Kanter briefly sent Joventut ahead, Diagne struck on the third-quarter buzzer to make it 68-67. Prepelic swung the lead back to the visitors early in a fourth quarter featuring lots of free throws, before Xabi Lopez-Arostegui struck from the corner to make it 73-76. Perez tied it with a tip-in for Andorra’s first field goal of the quarter, but Omic and Dimitrijevic netted inside for a 77-80 edge with four minutes left. Andorra moved closer from the foul line before Diagne’s monster block was followed by a Hannah triple for an 85-84 lead with 1:26 left. Lopez-Arostegui responded in kind, and free throws made it 87-89 and Andorra ball with 6.6 seconds on the clock. That was when Hannah struck again and Andorra had snatched the win!
Free throws prove crucial
The game featured a huge number of free throws and Andorra won the battle from the foul line by making 28 of 34 while the visitors went 21 for 32. No single player was more successful, though, than Joventut’s Klemen Prepelic with 14 of his 18 free throws converted – both season highs. But he missed 2 key foul shots in the dying stages to keep Andorra in the game.
Joventut hot then cold from deep
Joventut was on fire from long-range in the first half with six different players netting three-pointers as the team went 8 of 12 (66.7%) from beyond the arc. But those stats nosedived in the second half with Joventut going 2 of 13 from deep to finish with a total of 10 of 25 three-point conversions (40%).
Walker sparks Andorra after the break
Joventut failed to score a field goal in the opening 3:17 of the second half, registering only a pair of free throws from Prepelic as the host surged ahead. David Walker took advantage by scoring 8 points for Andorra during that phase of action, giving the hosts momentum which ultimately proved vital.
Andorra finishes its EuroCup campaign with a trip to Tofas Bursa on Wednesday, March 4. On the same night, Joventut will hope that it still needs a win against fellow Spanish side Unicaja.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020