Ponitka's triple saves Ostend in a thriller
Mateusz Ponitka hit a last second three-pointer as Telenet Ostend survived a roller-coaster ride, edging Stelmet Zielona Gora 76-74 in a thriller on Wednesday night. Ostend led by 16 early in the fourth quarter, but the visitors went in front 66-71 behind a 2-23 run. Zielona Gora took 73-74 lead with 11 seconds to go after a triple from Aaron Cel, but Ponitka’s shot kept Ostend undefeated at home in this Eurocup campaign. Ostend improved to 1-1 in Group O, while Zielona Gora dropped to 0-2. Veselin Petrovic paced the winners with 14 points, Brent Wright had 13, while Dusan Djordjevic and Pierre Antoine Gillet scored 10 apiece. Game-hero Ponitka finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Cel netted 15 for the visitors, Lukasz Koszarek had 12 points and 6 assists, while Adam Hrycaniuk collected 10 points and 7 rebounds in defeat.
Ostend jumped to a 9-3 start with baskets from Brent Wright and a triple from Quentin Serron. Christian Eyenga got the visitors going, and Przemyslaw Zamojski's three-pointer made it 9-10. But Mateusz Ponitka stole one for a fastbreak layup, and Pierre Antoine Gillet hit it from long range for the hosts. Baskets from close range by Khalid Boukichou and Serron got Ostend to 23-14 late in the first. Erving Walker buried a three in the final minute of the first quarter for Zielona Gora, but Wes Wilkinson and Niels Marnegrave scored triples for the hosts at the start of the second, helping to 32-21. The visitors replied, first through Kamil Chanas and Marcin Sroka, then with Zamojski and a three-pointer from Lukasz Koszarek for 38-34. Veselin Petrovic and Ponitka kept Ostend ahead at halftime, 44-36.
With Brent Wright leading the way, and Marnegrave hitting from downtown, Ostend raced to 55-40 lead midway through the third. The hosts kept Zielona Gora without a field goal for more than 6 minutes, and layups from Dusan Djordjevic and Petrovic extended it to 61-45 at the end of the third. Koszarek and Petrovic traded triples to start the fourth, before the visitors went on a 2-23 run. Aaron Cel started it with a layup, Chanas and Koszarek hit triples, and Cel’s shot from downtown cut it to 66-63. That was not the end of it, as Koszarek and Cel each hit a triple on back-to-back trips down the floor, for 66-71. The hosts were without a field goal for almost 5 minutes, before Gillet hit a triple, and Djordjevic sank a jumper for 71-71. After Wright made a pair from the foul line, Cel hit a three-pointer for 73-74 with 11 seconds remaining. But it was enough time for Ponitka to hit a game-winning three, his only basket behind the arc on the night, and Ostend’s victory.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014