19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
29 Demond Carter | Photo: Yannick Coppin
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ESSM Le Portel create miracle at Le Chaudron; Mornar turn tables around in Bar

LE PORTEL (FIBA Europe Cup) - There could have hardly been a more dramatic way for ESSM Le Portel to earn a place in the Quarter-Finals, with the French side squeezing past Dinamo Sassari in overtime after completing a large-scale turnaround.

Having lost the first leg of the tie in Italy by 17 points, Le Portel surpassed their Sardinian rivals on aggregate with a 100-81 victory at Le Chaudron behind a 33-point and 12-rebound double-double by Franklin Hassell.

Sassari had a chance to seal the game at the end of regulation, but a couple of missed free-throws and a crucial turnover by Will Hatcher allowed Le Portel captain Benoit Mangin to bring the tie level right at the end of the fourth quarter.

"We won for our fans; they are always with us, through thick and thin," Mangin said after the game. "We played the entire game at a good level, but we also got lucky tonight. Now, we have to think about the next game."


Trae Golden finished the game with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, Jean-Victor Traore had 13 points and 9 boards, while Mangin chipped in with 11 points, as the hosts triumphed after the extra period.

"This is one of the best games that I've won since I've been in Le Portel," head coach Eric Girard spoke after the game still in awe of what took place. "We played well once again. We've lost only two games in the FIBA Europe Cup and this is not that bad."

Although his nerves cost Dinamo dearly down the stretch, Will Hatcher was one of the best players for the away team, sharing a team-high 16-point mark with Scott Bamforth.

Elsewhere, Mornar Bar were the only other team to successfully turn around a first-leg deficit and move on to the next round of the Play-Offs after registering a 90-63 walkover against Belgian champions Oostende, who had won the first game by 13 points.

It was a game like no other for Montenegro international Nemanja Vranjes, who went 8-of-11 from three-point range for a game-high 29 points, with fellow national team member Derek Needham piling on 24 points of his own.

Meanwhile, Bakken Bears, Donar Groningen, Nizhny Novgorod, Sidigas Scandone Avellino and Umana Reyer Venezia enjoyed slightly less stress-inducing routes to the Quarter-Finals.

The Steffen Wich-coached Bears continued the Danish fairytale in the FIBA Europe Cup, putting their 20-point cushion to use and moved on to the next round despite an 81-75 defeat to Ventspils.

After winning the first game in Groningen by 27 points, the Drago Pasalic-led Donar inscribed a 76-69 win over U-BT Cluj-Napoca, their fourth in the FIBA Europe Cup this season against the Romanian title holders.

Pasalic led the winners with 20 points and 5 rebounds, Arvin Slagter chipped in with 13 points and 7 boards, while Zeljko Sakic posted 13 points and 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

Nizhny Novgorod topped Keravnos by double figures once again, triumphing 71-61 in a low-scoring game in Russia, with Stevan Jelovac getting in on the action with 17 points and Vladimir Veremeenko adding 14 points and 9 boards.

Ariel Filloy made up for a no-show in the first leg with a 22-point performance in Minsk to guide Sidigas Scandone Avellino past Tsmoki 81-72 after the teams ended the first game all even.

Although Kyrylo Fesenko was kept scoreless, Dez Wells and Jason Rich made up for it on the offensive end with 17 and 15 points, respectively. David Kravish had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Tsmoki.

Also through, Umana Reyer Venezia somewhat unexpectedly lost to Egis Kormend 88-86 after Csaba Ferencz bowed out of the competition with an 18-point performance and a clutch game-winning three-pointer to give the Hungarian side the win.

However, the outcome of the tie was never in doubt, as the Italians had won the first leg in Italy by 32 points.