Austin's clutch free throws tow Al Sadd to breakthrough win
RIYADH (Saudi Arabia) - Waverly Austin showed nerves of steel in the endgame to lead Al Sadd's great escape of Al Nasr Riyadh on the road, 78-77, to break through in the WASL Gulf League, Tuesday night at the Green Basketball Court.
The 32-year-old coolly canned both of his free throws off a Musab Kadi foul with 1.7 seconds left to play, and the club from Qatar would go on to complete the comeback after trailing by as much as 14 points during the second quarter.
Austin finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds to power Al Sadd's bounce-back from their stinging 99-93 overtime loss to Kuwait Club back in opening week.
Game heroes: All 5 starters finished in double figures in the win, indicative of how much the crew despised going home empty handed yet again.
Faisal Abuissa produced 17 points, including 12 in the third quarter alone as he brought back Al Sadd into the match after falling behind big. He nailed 3 triples and also collected 5 rebounds, an assist, 4 steals, and a block.
Babacar Dieng had his own double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Vander Blue almost tallied another triple double as he chalked up 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Omar Saad contributed 11 markers.
Turning point: Momentum appeared to have swung by Al Sadd's side since regaining the upper hand behind Austin early in the fourth quarter, when Abuissa's 3-pointer gave them a 2-possession lead, 76-72, with 48.2 seconds remaining.
The home team, however, did not allow the visitors to pull away, and Kenneth Brown Jr. later on nailed a booming trey to put Al Nasr ahead, 77-76, with 28.6 ticks to go.
Brown even had a good stop on the other end by poking the ball away from a driving Blue. But they could not fully secure the rock afterwards, eventually seeing Austin go to the line as he was fouled during a joust underneath the rim.
They indeed paid for it as the towering slotman calmly made his bonuses, proving to be the end for Al Nasr as Antonio Campbell's touchdown pass from the baseline inbound went too strong forJaber Kabe to catch on the other end.
Stats don't lie: Both squads shot 37-percent from the floor but Al Sadd clearly won the rebounding battle, 54-41.
They said: "It was a big win for us because Al Nasr is a very good team with a good coach ... I'm very proud of the guys." - Vasileios Bratsiakos, Head Coach, Al Sadd
"We have to be better. You win some, you lose some. We gotta go back and watch the film, prepare for the next game." - Kenneth Brown Jr., Al Nasr Riyadh