Darussafaka rallies to sink Cedevita in thriller
Darussafaka Istanbul overcame a double-digit second-half deficit before surviving a drama in which it edged visiting Cedevita Zagreb 85-83 on Wednesday. Darussafaka improved to 2-0 and took a three-way share of first place in Group A, while Cedevita dropped to 0-2. The visitors opened a 13-point lead in the second quarter and still had an 11-point margin midway through the third, but Darussafaka erased the deficit early in the fourth quarter and then held on in a back-and-fourth thrilling finish. Scottie Wilbekin led the hosts with 23 points and 5 assists, while big man JaJuan Johnson had 20 points and 7 rebounds. James Bell added 13 points and 7 rebounds and Will Cummings contributed with 10 points in victory. Kevin Murphy paced Cedevita with 17 points, Will Cherry netted 15, while Andrija Stipanovic amassed 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Dzanan Musa also scored 13 in defeat.
The score was tied at 8-8 early on with Wilbekin scoring all the points for the hosts, including a pair of triples. But Cedevita countered with back-to-back downtown shots from Cherry and Murphy, before Cherry’s three-point play and another triple opened a 15-24 lead. Darussafaka ended the first quarter with back-to-back threes from Okben Ulubay and Bell that narrowed the gap to 21-24, and Johnson scored inside to get the hosts within 25-26. However, Musa and Roko Ukic made close-range baskets that kept Cedevita ahead, before each player hit one from long range to open a 33-42 lead. The margin reached 13 points late in the second quarter and the visitors led 37-48 at halftime.
Darussafaka scored the first 6 points of the second half, but Stipanovic scored twice inside and Murphy from the outside to restore a double-digit margin. Musa’s three made it 47-58, however, the
hosts kept charging. Wilbekin scored a four-point play before Howard Sant-Roos and Johnson hit consecutive three-pointers to make it 59-63 at the end of the third quarter. At the start of the fourth, Bell scored a three-point play and Cummings scored a pair of baskets as Darussafaka went ahead 68-65. Stipanovic scored a layup that snapped a 9-0 run, and Murphy hit a wide-open three-pointer to put Cedevita back in front, 68-70. But that was the last lead for the visitors. Wilbekin hit a triple that made it 75-72, and after Stipanovic and Johnson traded three-point plays, Murphy hit a triple that tied it at 78-78. Johnson scored 6 points that kept Darussafaka with the lead, but also missed a pair from the line with the score 84-83. Cedevita had the final 20 seconds to win it, but Murphy missed an open corner triple and Darussafaka prevailed.
In Round 3 both teams play at home, Cedevita hosts winless newcomer MoraBanc Andorra while Darussafaka hosts unbeaten UNICS Kazan.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017