Sassari, Varese and Wurzburg conquer Quarter-Final roller coasters
MUNICH (Germany) - Dinamo Sassari, Pallacanestro Varese and s.Oliver Wurzburg stayed in the hunt for the FIBA Europe Cup title after coming out of the Quarter-Finals in one piece on Wednesday.
After a massive second-leg turnaround nearly left UNET Holon at the gates of the Semi-Finals, the theme of big comebacks that weren't meant to be continued in Sardinia, with Pinar Karsiyaka giving Dinamo Sassari trouble.
Having entered the home fixture with a seemingly safe 19-point cushion from the trip to Izmir, the Gianmarco Pozzecco-coached Sassari side had to overcome plenty of hurdles to draw the second leg 83-83 after falling behind by 26 points.
With the visitors from Turkey breathing fire from three-point range and Dinamo struggling to connect, the Sek Henry and Erving Walker-led Karsiyaka put themselves back in the conversation for the Semi-Finals with an excellent first-half performance.
Down 69-50 before the start of the fourth quarter and level on aggregate, Sassari managed to put the tie to bed with a game-changing 20-2 run in the first six minutes of the final stanza, booking a date with UNET Holon.
"It was a crazy night, we didn't approach the game very well and Pinar had a great first half. In the second half, we managed to find concentration and points. We are happy for the win and are ready to face the new challenge of the Semi-Finals," said Dinamo head coach Pozzecco.
Having been at the heart of charge, Marco Spissu and Achille Polonara shared a team-high mark of 14 points, while Jaime Smith finished the night with 12 after knocking down a couple of big three-pointers.
For Karsiyaka, Sek Henry topped all scorers with 24 points and 5 assists, as Erving Walked chipped in with 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
The other Italian side Pallacanestro Varese were the only Quarter-Finalists to win both legs of their tie after adding a 72-57 triumph over Filou Oostende on top of their slender advantage from the first game in Belgium for an aggregate 145-127 victory.
After also playing a big role in the first meeting between the teams, Aleksa Avramovic delivered another big scoring performance in Varese with 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting, while Thomas Scrubb and Ronald Moore added 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Loic Schwarts was the only Oostende player in double figures, as Dario Gjergja's side made just 20-of-55 field goals and 12-of-21 free throws as a team.
In the only other Quarter-Final, s.Oliver Wurzburg successfully tipped the scales in their favor against Bakken Bears with an 86-70 win in Germany after losing the first leg in Aarhus by a single point.
An early double-digit lead for the Bakken Bears in the first quarter had turned the volume down at the s.Oliver Arena, but the home crowd regained their voice as Wurzburg outscored the visitors by 15 point in the second period to gain control.
"Our fans showed up and supported us today, we had a great atmosphere from start to finish," Wurzburg playcaller Denis Wucherer spoke after the game.
"It doesn't happen every day that you make it to a European Semi-Final. We hope to have even more support in our home game in the Semi-Finals. The FIBA Europe Cup is a tough competition with a lot of good teams. We're happy and proud to be among the best four of them."
Despite a high-scoring night, the hosts only had two players in double figures: Jordan Hulls couldn't miss from the floor for the home side, going 7-of-10 from the field for a game-high 19 points and Gabe Olaseni added 11 points.
Tylor Ongwae and Michel Diouf shared a team-high mark of 15 points for Bakken Bears, who fell short of last year's Semi-Final achievement with the second-leg defeat in Germany.