Stellar Gentile lifts Trento to survival win
The resolution of Group D's last Top 16 qualification will wait until Round 10 after Dolomiti Energia Trento rallied for a 78-85 road win over Asseco Arka Gdynia on Wednesday. Trento improved to 4-5 and avoided elimination. Arka fell to 3-6 with its fifth home loss, but still saved a points advantage should the two teams finished tied after Round 10 due to having won in Trento by 11 points earlier. Alessandro Gentile exploded for a club- and personal-record 37 points on 13-for-20 two-point shooting to lead the winners. Davide Pascolo seconded him with 11 points and 8 rebounds, almost all of them in the last 12 minutes, without missing a shot. Josh Bostic led Arka with 17 points, while Leyton Hammonds, Armani Moore and Krzysztof Szubarga had 12 each. Arka held its biggest lead, 49-40, at halftime an was ahead for the last time at 64-61 but was held scoreless for most of the next 4 minutes as Trento turned the game, and the qualification battle, around.
Bostic and Gentile each had 5 points as the lead traded hands early and often. Neither team could go up by more than 3 points until Adam Hrycaniuk's three-point play and free throws by Hammonds made it 18-12 in Arka's favor. Bartlomiej Woloszyn's banked-in triple and Moore's scoop shot supplied the hosts' biggest lead yet, 23-16, but Trento was able to trim that by a bucket after 10 minutes. James Blackmon and Fabio Mian hit Trento's first triples early in the second quarter, but Moore and Dariusz Wyka answered in kind. Wyka struck from the corner next for a new high lead of 32-24. Gentile answered with a three-point play among 5 points to pull the visitors closer before Justin Knox got them within 37-35. Another three-point play by Gentile gave Trento the lead, but Szubarga and Moore took it back swiftly with 3 points each at 43-38. Hrycaniuk had a put-back and Ben Emelogu 2 free throws as Arka took its biggest lead, 49-40, at the half. Toto Forray and Gentile opened the second half with baskets for Trento, whose defense forced several late and well-contested shots from Arka. It would become a trend. Hammonds unblocked the hosts' offense from long range, then did it again, restoring a 55-46 advantage. Gentile converted another three-point play and dropped his 10th two-pointer on a bank shot at 55-51. Moore's driving layup was answered by a triple from Rashard Kelly as Trento crept closer. Gentile was unstoppable as he got to the free throw line twice to get Trento within 57-56. Pascolo took the honors of giving Trento a new lead, 57-58, on a layup. Bostic's two-pointer and a free throw by Forray left a 59-59 tie at the end of three quarters. Bostic and Pascolo traded baskets to open the final quarter, but Pascolo wasn't done. He answered Wyka's triple with an inside basket and then stepped outside for a triple to make it 64-66. Mian and Aaron Craft pushed Trento's lead to 64-70 as Arka was stuck on 3 points for almost 5 minutes. Nonetheless, the hosts got within 70-72 before Gentile and Forray, following a steal, left Trento in front 70-76 with 2 minutes left. Bostic tried to save Arka with a triple, but Gentile answered with his own and a layup to keep Trento alive to fight into Round 10.
Gentile surpassed his previous EuroCup career high on a bank shot with 6 minutes left in the third quarter that gave him 23 points. By the end of the third quarter he had 28, matching Trento's single-game record. He topped that record on a layup with 2:28 to play that gave him 30 points and, eventually finished with 37, the most in the EuroCup since March of 2018.
Trento won despite a negative difference of 6 three-pointers. The visitors made only 5 of 19, or 26.3%, while Arka hit 11 of 29 attempts from deep, for 37.9%, and was a perfect 17 of 17 on free throws. The difference then was Trento's 29 of 45 (64.4%) on two-pointers as compared to Arka's 14 of 34 (41.2%).
At 70-72 with under 3 minutes left, Adam Hrycaniuk of Arka missed a put-back to tie. At the other end, Rashard Kelly fed Alessandro Gentile for his club-record 30th point, then Toto Forray stole Arka's inbound pass and scored to make it suddenly 70-76 with 2 mintes left, which proved too big a difference for the hosts to overcome.
It'll all come down to Round 10 for these two teams, with Trento hosting Group D winner Unicaja Malaga on Tuesday while Arka visits Galtasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul on Wednesday.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019