Prepelic miracle lifts Joventut over Darussafaka
A gold-plated miracle from Klemen Prepelic gave Joventut Badalona a memorable 85-82 victory over Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul at Palau Olimpic on Wednesday night, as the Slovenian star made a strong challenge for the shot of the season with a game-winning heave from his own foul line on the final buzzer. Darussfaka appeared to have control midway through the third quarter, but Joventut bounced back behind a barrage of three-pointers. The final quarter was closely contested and the game seemed set for overtime after Darussafaka’s Gary Browne missed in the dying seconds, but Prepelic – who otherwise suffered a terrible shooting night – launched his miraculous game-winner to spark frenzied celebrations. The outcome created a four-way tie at the top of a perfectly poised Group C with both teams at 2-1. Debutant Xabi Lopez-Arostegui led the home team’s efforts with 17 points in 14 minutes, while Nikos Zisis and Kerem Kanter both scored 11. Johnathan Hamilton was outstanding for Darussafaka, registering a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Bonzie Colson added 15 points, Doron Lamb 14, Dogus Ozdemiroglu 12 and Browne 10.
A pair of baskets from Alen Omic gave Joventut an early lead, but a trio of free throws from Lamb and a couple of baskets from Jarrod Jones sent Darussafaka in front. Omic stayed hot to bring the hosts ahead again, but Hamilton’s dunk and Ozdemiroglu’s three-point play forced another lead change. A three-pointer from Nenad Dimitrijevic halted a 0-9 run and fixed the score at 19-22 at the end of the first before Lopez-Arostegui and Luke Harangody also connected from long range to give Joventut the lead. Uncontested layups from Sinan Guler, Ozdemiroglu and Kartal Ozmizrak made it 32-35, before Browne’s driving layup and Hamilton’s free throw completed a 0-9 run. Omic and Joel Parra answered from close-range and the visitors were up 36-38 at halftime. Hamilton and Lamb were unstoppable early in the third quarter, scoring all the points to extend the lead to 40-49. A triple from Zisis sparked a Joventut revival with a 7-0 run, but Colson hit a quick pair of triples and a buzzer-beating jumper to keep Darussafaka in front, 60-61, after three quarters, despite long-range strikes from Albert Ventura, Dimitrijevic and Lopez-Arostegui. Consecutive baskets from Kanter sent Joventut ahead at the start of the fourth, but Browne leveled from deep. Zisis and Connor Morgan also made three-pointers before Hamilton snagged another offensive board to score for a 75-75 tie with 3 minutes left. Colson’s triple sent Darussafaka ahead, and Lamb’s free throws made it 79-82 with 60 seconds remaining. Prepelic’s free throws tied it up and overtime looked inevitable until Prepelic conjured his magic moment on the final buzzer.
Better late than never for Prepelic
Joventut’s Klemen Prepelic headed into the game as the leading scorer in the competition with 23.5 points per game, but for 59 minutes and 59 seconds, he fell way short of those standards. Before his outrageous game-winner, Prepelic had only scored 6 points – with 4 of them coming from the foul line – after going 1-of-5 from two-point territory and 0-4 from beyond the arc. But then came the only shot that anyone will remember.
Lopez-Arostegui makes his mark
After missing through injury in the opening two games of the season, Xabi Lopez-Arostegui wasted no time making a mark in the 7DAYS EuroCup. The 22-year-old homegrown forward scored 17 points in his competition debut, including nerveless free throws in the latter stages. He made 6 of 7 field goals to play a key role in his team’s win, and although Prepelic stole the headlines, the debutant was Joventut’s best player on the night. Expect to see a lot more of him from now on.
Three-point disparity makes the difference
Shooting from beyond the arc made the difference to the outcome of this game…and not only because of Prepelic’s game-winner. Overall Joventut converted 13-of-28 attempts (46.4%) from long-range, with eight different players making at least one triple, while Darussafaka made only 6-of-24 from downtown (25%).
Round 4 will see Joventut make the long journey to face Unics Kazan, while Darussafaka stays on the road to take on Germani Brescia Leonessa.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019