Gran Canaria prevails in defensive battle
In a Round 5 replay game, Herbalife Gran Canaria held off shorthanded Dolomiti Energia Trento 71-61 at Gran Canaria Arena on Friday night. The hosts displayed a great defensive effort that allowed only 41 points from the visiting team in the first three periods, good enough to build a lead they kept for the entire second half. Gran Canaria bounced back from a rough loss in Nanterre two days before and improved to 5-2, as Trento lost for the first time this season and goes to 6-1, still atop Group D. Tomas Dimsa led the way for the winners with 19 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers, followed by John Shurna, who posted 17 points and 8 rebounds. Luke Maye had a double-double of 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Gary Browne contributed 14 points in a losing effort.
A lucky off-the-glass trey by Dimsa and free throws by Jeremy Morgan started the scoring. The hosts found offensive momentum through Andrew Albicy, who fed Khalifa Diop and Shurna for a 10-3 lead that prompted a Trento timeout. That worked fine as Maye and Morgan drilled back-to-back triples on a 2-10 run that pushed Trento ahead 12-13. The teams traded baskets until a nice one-handed turnaround shot by Toto Forray closed the first period all tied at 17-17. Baskets were few and far between early in the second, as defenses prevailed. Shurna and Fabio Santana combined to unlock Gran Canaria’s offense, but Trento found free throws to keep it tied at 25-25 after 15 minutes. Maye and Matt Costello swapped baskets, but those were the only contributions over the next three minutes. A timely triple by Santana and free throws by Dimsa helped the hosts head the locker room in charge, 33-29. Dimsa and Stanley Okoye started hot after the break with consecutive three-pointers for a double-digit lead, 39-29. Maye reduced the gap, but no one else joined to help him. Turnovers became frequent in Gran Canaria’s offense, while Trento was unable to hit open shots. As such, the difference remained steady until Shurna used his size against Forray, then added a triple, to make it 48-41 at the end of the third. Jacob Wiley showed up with a monster block and a three-point play, and even though Browne hit a jumper and Morgan contributed a fastbreak three-pointer to keep the hosts in sight, 51-48, Ferrari replied quickly from downtown and Shurna added a free throw to keep Gran Canaria calm. Trento counterattacked with 5 points in a row by Browne to make it a one-possession game, 55-53, but another off-the-glass triple by Dimsa and a basket by Shurna aborted the visitors reaction, as Albicy used the foul line to extend the margin to 62-53. Maximilian Ladurnier and Kelvin Martin replied from inside, but Dimsa connected from behind the arc and Costello added 3 more points to extend the margin to 68-58 and put the game on ice.
Both teams did a terrific job in defense, as the visitors forced 21 turnovers and the hosts held Trento under 33% in two-point shooting and under 15% from behind the arc. Trento missed 57 field goals overall, too many to have a real chance to win.
In a game with no big runs and scoring spurts, Tomas Dimsa emerged as the most reliable weapon for Gran Canaria. He contributed more three-pointers (4) than all Trento (3). Two of them came in key moments of the fourth quarter to stop the visitors’ comeback attempts.
Even though Trento was without Jacorey Williams, Davide Pascolo, Andrea Mezzanote and Luca Lechtaler inside, it displayed an amazing rebounding performance. The visitors grabbed 46 boards, 23 on each side, to set the club’s second-best mark in the competition.
In Round 8 next week both teams will play at home, as Dolomiti Energia Trento will host Nanterre 92 on Wednesday, November 18, while Herbalife Gran Canaria will welcome Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana the same day.
Friday, November 13, 2020