Garrett, Turin make Top 16
Fiat Turin advanced to the Top 16 by handing Darussafaka Istanbul its second loss of the season by a narrow margin, 75-77, in Turkey. The guests managed to lead by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, 54-67, but Darussafaka came back and made it a close ending. The hosts, already Group A champs, are now 7-2, while Fiat is 5-4 and advances to the Top 16 because Levallois Metropolitans beat MoraBanc Andorra in a later Group A game. Diante Garrett led the winners with 22 points, Lamar Patterson added 20 and Trevor Mbakwe had 13 for Fiat. For Darussafaka, playing without its best player Scottie Wilbekin, Will Cummings led the way with 22 points and Howard Sant-Roos had 12.
Mbakwe launched Fiat early as the guests wanted to try to secure a lead soon, which they did when Patterson nailed a three for a 3-11 start. Good defense and speed in offense allowed the hosts to recover soon, especially when Stanton Kidd made a three-point play to get within 12-14. Fiat was surviving off good percentages from beyond the arc to lead 14-20 with two minutes to go in the first quarter. There was time for Michael Eric to score from the paint to make it 16-20 after 10 minutes. Darussafaka started the second quarter catching up fast, but Fiat resisted thanks to Garrett. The hosts tried hard looking for inside plays, but they could not jump ahead as Patterson reached 14 personal points. When Fiat didn't keep focus however, Darussafaka rallied to 36-39 at the halftime break.
Cummings blasted a three for the hosts to tie the game at 39-39 and another basket by him a minute later put Darussafaka in command at last, 41-39. Garrett and Patterson stepped up again to restore a Fiat lead as the rhythm of the game went from fast to faster. Sant-Roos stepped up for the hosts, but Fiat stood stubborn in the lead until the end of the third quarter, 54-58. Garrett reappeared at the start of the last quarter with back-to-back threes to make it 54-63, and David Okeke joined in on a 0-9 run. Cummings and Eric replied with a 6-0 push of their own to make it 60-67, which seemed to stun Turin until Kartal Ozmizrak nailed a three that tied it at 67-67, completing a 13-0 comeback. Deron Washington hit his own three to make it 67-70 as the game entered its last two minutes. Cummings scored twice from the line to make it 71-72 in the last minute, and Jajuan Johnson pulled up for a three that made it 74-74. The atmosphere was getting noisier by the minute when Garrett scored again and forced Coach David Blatt to call timeout with 18 seconds to go. Cummings had another trip to the stripe, but missed the first, 75-76. On the other side, Garrett hit also only one free throw, and on the following play the hosts turned the ball over allowing Fiat to claim an agonizing win.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017