Dedas' three lifts PAOK over FoxTown Cantu
PAOK Thessaloniki barely survived visiting FoxTown Cantu on Wednesday evening as it all went down to the wire, when Georgios Dedas hit a three for the 78-77 win of the hosts. Both teams featured several runs and commanded the game at different phases, and Cantu even had a 9-point lead, 67-76 entering the last minutes, but PAOK recovered and managed to complete the comeback. With the win, PAOK has its first Last 32 win in Group J and improves to 1-1, while Cantu drops to 1-1 also. Kevin Langford led the winners with his 18 points and 6 boards while Kostas Karakoudis and Apollon Tsochlas added 11 apiece for the winners, including 3 of 4 threes each. For Cantu, DeQuan Jones led the way with 16 points and Darius Johnson-Odom and Eric Williams had 14 apiece in defeat.
FoxTown Cantu started strong thanks to a 0-8 run capped by Ivan Buva, who made it 2-8 with his layup. Christos Saloustros rescued PAOK with a fast three, and then a layup of his own for the 9-8 PAOK lead. Cantu was scoring steady from the field, and that allowed the guests to gain control again, also dominating the glasses and way ahead in the assists count. Between Buva and Eric Williams, Cantu built a cushion of 20-24 after 10 minutes. PAOK stormed into the second quarter with a 9-1 run including four points by Kevin Langford to take the driver's seat again. The hosts had come back in all stats aspects and it showed also on the scoreboard. Cantu was back on track soon enough and never let the hosts pull away as James Feldeine hit the layup for 29-27. However, Kostas Kakaroudis' second three of the night and Williams' 11th point made it 38-34 at the break.
The guests started the third period on a high note with a 2-7 burst for 40-41 as Feldeine scored three straight points. DeQuan Jones and Darius Johnson-Odom started to take over for Cantu, but Evangelos Margaritis did the same for PAOK, and helped his team stay afloat. The 11 turnovers of Cantu against the 13 assists of PAOK were kind of misleading since a solid 19 of 33 twos allowed the guests to remain ahead. However, in another late burst capped by Apollon Tsochlas, PAOK managed to stay ahead, 57-54, after 30 minutes. The first minute of the last quarter saw both teams taking turns in the lead, and it definitely looked like it would be a close deal until the end. Williams, Jones and Johnson was the trio pushing Cantu ahead and then Stefano Gentile chipped in with a free throw for a 62-66 lead for the guests with 5 minutes to go. Cantu completed a 2-11 burst with Damian Hollis' three, 64-71. It was all or nothing for PAOK now, but Langford could only add points from the free-throw line, and then Gentile did the same wtice to make it a 9-point game, 67-76. The last push by PAOK started at Tsochlas hands with a three, and then on the other side, Johnson hit a free throws for 75-77 and 18 seconds to go. After a PAOK timeout, Tsochlas fed Georgios Dedas for a three that put the hosts ahead by one, 78-77, and a Cantu timeout with 10 seconds to go. However, in the last play, Gentile turned the ball over for the guests and PAOK managed to escape with a narrow win.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015