Thomas-led Dinamo draw first blood in the Finals
SASSARI (Italy) - An unstoppable Rashawn Thomas performance and the thundering Sardinia crowd helped Dinamo Sassari to an 89-84 first-leg victory at the jam-packed Palaserradimigni, setting up Gianmarco Pozzecco's side with a slender advantage for next week's trip to Germany.
Turning point: Having been in the back seat for large stretches of the first half, the hosts turned up their intensity after the intermission but it wasn't until the fourth quarter that they asserted themselves. Marco Spissu nailed a three-pointer from way downtown and added a steal with a layup to give Dinamo an 84-75 lead and send the stands into a frenzy.
Game hero: It was all about Rashawn Thomas tonight, with the Sassari big man collecting 15 points in the first quarter alone en route to a 27-point and 11-rebound performance with 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.
Stats don't lie: There were 19 lead changes in Sassari, with the home side only emerging victorious in the closing stages of the contest. Dinamo held the lead for over 18 minutes, with Wurzburg enjoying the upper hand for nearly 16 minutes.
Bottom line: Despite coming up short in the first leg of the tie, Wurzburg are still very much alive in the Finals after Xavier Cooks and Cameron Wells scored the last six points of the game.
They said: "Today was the last international game of my friend, one of the referees, Srdjan Dozai and I want to congratulate him. His career was great. He also refereed to me as a player and I really have great memories. He's a great person and a great referee. All of Dinamo want to congratulate him. He's a great guy. I spent two years in Croatia, so I had an opportunity to know him a little bit better. He's a great guy.
I have to congratulate my players. In one moment, I was so proud of them. Watching them play basketball for a coach is really emotional, I just have to congratulate them. They played really well. In the fourth quarter, they gave more than a hundred percent." – Dinamo Sassari head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco
"I'm very happy about the win, because we knew it was going to be a really tough game against a really tough team. We played with great energy, great intensity, especially on defense in the second half. We finished the first half (of the tie) and the second half in Wurzburg should be much more difficult." – Dinamo Sassari forward Achille Polonara
"It was a good game. I think we finished it well. We had some more chances down the stretch. We just have to execute a little bit better and we'll be ready for Wednesday." – s.Oliver Wurzburg guard Cameron Wells
"I'm very happy for my team and the way they played. I thought we saw a Final of two teams with great quality and it showed. Sassari is a special team, they're a very strong team. They played in front of a fantastic crowd and I thought we battled. Sassari was a little better, they deserved the five points. But I like our chances next week." – s.Oliver Wurzburg head coach Denis Wucherer