Victor Sanders and Jeremy Morgan are both playing their first season in the 7DAYS EuroCup. But the duo showed they can step up in big games and helped Dolomiti Energia Trento lock up a spot in the Top 16.
Sanders scored a career-high 22 points and Morgan tallied all 14 of his points in the second half as Trento pulled off an 80-89 road victory at Promitheas Patras to remain undefeated in Group D with a 6-0 record. The win meant that 2016 semifinalist Trento had reached the Top 16 for the second straight season and fourth time in its last five appearances in the competition.
"It was tough for us, but being a great team like we are, we figured out a way to get it done. That’s the biggest thing going forward in any game we play: if we play together and stay together as a unit, we can accomplish a lot," said Sanders, who scored 15 of his points after the break.
The second half started with Morgan draining back-to-back three-pointers after he had not scored in the first half. Sanders would add back-to-back three-pointers and 2 free throws later in the third quarter. In the final frame, Promitheas cut a 10-point deficit to 3 points when Morgan knocked down a three-pointer with the shotclock winding down. And with Promitheas just 1 point behind, Morgan took over, hitting a layup and then blocking a shot and dishing the assist for a Gary Browne layup and adding a three-pointer for a 6-point cushion with under 4 minutes to play.
Promitheas would not go away and was down just 4 points when Sanders knocked down his fourth three-pointer to make it 80-87 with just more than 2 minutes to play.
It was a matter of bending but not breaking for Trento’s acclaimed defense, which had ranked first in points allowed at 66.6 points going into the game. The Italians did give up 80 points for the second straight game, but Trento also kept Promitheas without a basket for nearly the final 4 minutes.
"It was not easy to play here today. But they wanted to win and are very happy that we have the qualification for the second round," Trento coach Nicola Brienza said. "This is very good for our club and first of all for our guys because they deserve it."
Thanks to Sanders and Morgan, Trento was able to find a way to remain perfect in the EuroCup.