Harrison, Turk Telekom stop Slask, 89-73
Turk Telekom Ankara stayed perfect at home with an 89-73 victory over visiting Slask Wroclaw on Tuesday. Turk Telekom improved to 2-1 in Group A, where Slask continues searching for a win. Aaron Harrison exploded for the winners with 25 points on his way to a career-high 34 performance index rating. Aubrey Dawkins added 18 points for Turk Telekom while JaJuan Johnson had 16 and 9 rebounds and Alex Perez dished 10 assists. Turk Telekom led by 13 early but Slask rallied in the second quarter to lead by 34-40. Slask stayed ahead until Harrison's first basked of his 18 second-half points tied it, 46-46, not long before Turk Telekom went ahead for good, using its defense to win the fourth quarter 21-8 and take the victory. Slask got 22 points and 8 assists from Travis Trice, 15 points from Kodi Justice and 12 from Cyril Langevine. Kerem Kanter added a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds but the visitors lost Jakob Karolak to injury midway through the game.
Turk Telekom scored the first 7 points as Dawkins and Perez buried back-to-back triples. Karolak's three-pointer opened Slask's tally and sparked a 2-10 run capped by Kanter's shot from the arc at 9-10. Turk Telekom was quick to restore its lead as threes from Harrison, Dawkins and Can Ogut shot the hosts ahead 24-15 after 10 minutes and a triple each from Tyler Ennis and Samet Geyik made it 30-17 early in the second quarter. Trice struck back in a big way for Slask, scoring his team's next 16 points, including every one in a 0-14 run to single-handedly send the visitors up 32-33. An alley-oop from Perez to Ellis snapped Turk Telekom's drought, but Justice had a jumper and a triple as Slask stayed ahead 34-40. The hosts stopped the bleeding with 6 late points to cut Slask's advantage to 40-42 at halftime.
Langevine and Trice kept the visitors ahead after the break until Harrison drove right through Slask's defense for a game-tying dunk at 46-46, only to see Kanter respond with a basket-plus-free throw. Harrison and Samet Geyik soon connected from downtown as Turk Telekom took a 54-51 lead. The momentum remained with the home team as Hawkins threw down a windmill slam, which prompted a timeout by Slask. Harrison and Justice traded triples before Harrison stole and converted a three-point play on the break to make it 62-56. Justice kept it close from the arc, but Johnson matched it with a baseline jumper and free throws from Ellis meant a 67-59 Turk Telekom lead. Justice faded away for two and Trice nailed a buzzer-beater to cut the difference to 68-65 after 30 minutes.
Langevine's monster dunk off a feed from Trice for Slask was buried under an avalanche of Turk Telekom points early in the fourth quarter, with back-to-back threes from Harrison and Dawkins producing a double-digit lead, 78-67, with under 7 minutes left. A lull in scoring then did nothing to help Slask, which went cold from deep while Perez upped the difference to 81-67 with 4 minutes left. Kanter tipped in to end almost 5 scoreless minutes for Slask and Lukasz Kolenda hit a reverse layup, but the outcome was already clear and in favor of the home team.
Standout stat: Turk Telekom's block party
It was a block party in Ankara on Tuesday as Turk Telekom not only matched its club record over 59 games and six seasons by rejecting 8 of Slask Wroclaw's shots. That was also the single best shot-block total of the new 7DAYS EuroCup season. The last time Turk Telekom had 8 blocks was in 2008 and hadn't recorded more than5 in one game since 2010.
Octavious Ellis set the tone with a rejection of Slask's very first shot attempt and he was still at it, stopping the same player, Cyril Langevine, on a fastbreak dunk try in the fourth quarter. Ellis would finish with 3 blocks and was followed with 2 each by Samet Geyik and JaJuan Johnson, who had both of his during a 13-0 Turk Telekom run in the fourth quarter that decided the outcome.
Ennis's long-awaited return for Turk Telekom
With 1:23 left in the first quarter, Tyler Ennis entered the game in a Turk Telekom jersey, returning to action after almost an entire year away from basketball. Ennis tore his Achilles tendon on November 21 of last year in a domestic league game against Galatasaray. It was his second long-term injury in three years, after he broke his ankle while playing for Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in October of 2018. Ennis played just three EuroLeague games with Fenerbahce that season before the ankle injury. Now, after signing with Turk Telekom in summer of 2020, he made his EuroCup debut. His team didn't need heroics on his first night back, but he was good for 5 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 8 minutes on court, which is a good sign for him and his team going forward. Welcome back, Tyler!
Slask's Trice erased a 13-point deficit himself!
Turk Telekom seemed to be cruising in the first half, having scored 7 triples on its first 12 attempts to go up 32-19 early in the second quarter. But Travis Trice of Slask erased that difference in all of 130 seconds. By himself!
Trice scored 14 unanswered points over 2 minutes and 10 seconds, pairing back-to-back triples with a three-point play the hard way for the bulk of those points. Before anyone knew it, Slask was in front 32-33. Trice's teammates would put together another 0-7 spurt for a 34-40 Slask advantage late in the second quarter. They certainly turned the game upside-down, but it lasted only until Turk Telekom responded after halftime, flipping the scoreboard again, for good.
Tuesday, November 2, 2021