By John Askounis/ email@example.com
Trailed most of the 40 minutes, but AEK powered-up down the stretch for the 92-85 win against Telekom Baskets Bonn in Athens. The victory placed the Queen in front, 1-0, in the Basketball Champions League Round of 16 best-of-three series.
Top Game 1 performer was Kendrick Ray. His 27 points included 6/9 from deep. The 26-year-old guard filled in his stat sheet with three boards, three assists, and three steals.
“Tough game for all four quarters,” he said sharing his take on the exciting contest, “We got some key stops at the end of the game and got the win.”
Ilias Papatheodorou’s side struggled to confirm their favorite status up to the last quarter. However, launched a 10-2 run down the stretch following the visitors’ last lead to avoid the upset.
“We knew how difficult it was to play Bonn,” stressed Papatheodorou, “We showed patience and won this game. It’s just 1-0. We have to rest and go there to win the second game.”
Keith Langford sank a clutch three in the final minute to finish with 20 points despite his tough shooting night. Jonas Maciulis went for 11 points and Linos Chrysikopoulos for ten.
“I think we came out ready to play. We had a lot of energy. We played a great 35 minutes, but in the last five we just didn’t close it out” confessed Alec Brown after his 16 points.
The effort from Will Voigt’s players fell just short. Joshiko Saibou scored 19 points but was not enough. Brown and Martin Breunig followed with 16 points each, and Trey McKinney-Jones mixed in 13.
Donald Sloan played over 30 minutes in his European club competition debut but was held to 1/5 from three-point range to finish the match with seven points, three dimes and a pair of rebounds.
Game 2 is set for next Tuesday in Germany. In the event of a 1-1 stalemate, the Round of 16 opponents will settle their differences a week later in Greece through the deciding Game 3.
Postgame press conference:
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League