Usak - PAOK: 78-77
Muratbey Usak Sportif gave up a double digit second half lead before escaping with a 78-77 victory over PAOK in a Gameday 9 thriller on Wednesday evening.
The win keeps Usak's slim playoff hopes alive as they survived a Zanis Peiners game-winning three pointer that banked in at the buzzer - only for it to be waved off upon video-review for not having been released in time.
Zach Auguste will be breathing a sigh of relief after it was his two missed free throws with four seconds remaining that left the door open for Peiners ill-fated shot.
Usak gave up a 13 point lead in the second half, with PAOK riding on the coattails of Peiners who had 8 of his 19 points in the final quarter.
"I don't know what I can say about this game," Peiners said in the post-game press conference.
"Tough loss and I think it was very important for us (to win), to get more comfortable in the group and in the playoff zone. But we lost, and in the games that are left we need to play better."
It was D'Angelo Harrison who played the hero for Usak, hitting a huge go-ahead three pointer with 28 seconds remaining that proved to be the game winner. Harrison had 16 points and 5 assists for Usak, whilst Rolands Freimanis led with 18, as their team improved to 3-6 in Group C and kept their playoff hopes alive.
Freimanis said, "Good win, the whole team needed this in the Champions League. I think it was a hard game, we were controlling the game the whole game. I think we just had some mental mistakes and that's why they came back.
"In the end, maybe we got lucky, maybe not. The fans were amazing."
Usak Head Coach Ozan Bulkaz added:
"Basketball is a great game.
"As you can see, for the game, we just forced the game, all game long for the fourth quarter and at the end we won. Maybe we did easy mistakes, the ending was dramatic but in the end we won and we're happy about it.
"The fans were amazing tonight and we want to now focus on winning the upcoming games."
Article from www.basketballcl.com