Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari wins its first Italian championship
Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari outlasted Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 73-75 in Game 7 on Friday to become the Italian League champion for the first time. Sassari used a 0-12 fourth-quarter run to dig out of an 8-point deficit and Jerome Dyson scored the game-, series- and championship-winning free throws with 10.4 seconds remaining. Rakim Sanders paced the winning attack with 18 points, Dyson tallied 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists and David Logan scored 13. It was all Reggio Emilia early as Andrea Cinciarini and Achille Polonara scored 6 points apiece in the first quarter and the defense stifled the visitors en route to a 21-4 lead after 10 minutes. Sassari found its footing in the second quarter; Sanders awoke his team with a three-pointer and Kenny Kadji brought some energy off the bench as Sassari mounted a comeback. Logan’s fastbreak layup closed the gap to 25-22 with a little over two minutes left in the half. Cinciarini and Vitalis Chikoko helped Reggio Emilia keep its lead, but Shane Lawal’s free throws made it 32-26 at halftime. A Jeff Brooks three-pointer to start the second half halved Sassari’s deficit and another by Dyson drew the visitors within 34-32. Though Reggio Emilia remained on top, Brian Sacchetti free throws made it 45-42 late in the third quarter. However Edgar Sosa fouled Polonara on a jumper, was called for a controversial technical foul and after 4 free throws and a Rimantas Kaukenas jumper, the difference was 10 points. A layup and free throws by Sanders made it 55-48 heading into the third quarter. In less than two minutes, Logan’s three-pointer and Dyson’s three-point play had Sassari as close at 57-56. Logan’s next three tied the game, though Riccardo Cervi took over down low with a pair of buckets and Drake Diener buried a triple as Reggio Emilia built an 8-point cushion. Sassari fought back through Logan, whose three with four minutes to go tied it at 67-67. Dyson scored a go-ahead layup and then banked in shot as Sassari held Reggio Emilia scoreless for nearly four minutes during a 0-12 charge. After Kaukenas banked in a tough shot, Diener tied it at 71-71 with 2 free throws with 57.4 seconds remaining. Dyson put Sassari up 2 with free throws with 10.4 seconds left and Diener shot an airball in the final seconds as Sassari started its celebrations. Polonara paced Reggio Emilia with 17 points and 14 rebounds, Diener scored 14, Kaukenas 13 and Cinciarini added 12 points and 5 assists.