By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
ATHENS — The Basketball Champions League Final 8 opener was a show for one team only since San Pablo Burgos routed Hapoel Jerusalem to take the first ticket to the semifinals.
The second quarterfinal, however, was a different case, with a single similarity: That again it was the underdog that prevailed.
JDA Dijon led for the entire fourth quarter and almost completely gave up a 10-point advantage in the last minutes of the quarterfinal against Turk Telekom but ultimately held on to win 83 – 82 and advance to the semifinal stage of the competition for the first time ever.
After Axel Julien hit free throws to put Dijon up 80 – 70 and made his fifth 3-pointer for the 83 – 74, Turk Telekom rallied for the comeback behind Kyle Wiltjer and Tyler Ennis. The latter sank free-throws for the 83 – 82 with 30 seconds to play.
David Holston air-balled a 3-point attempt on the other end and the Turkish team had seven seconds to win it. Wiltjer took a “Hail Mary” shot from way beyond the arc that barely found the rim and Dijon got the ticket to the next stage.
Julien finished with a game-high-tying 19 points on 5-9 triples while dishing out five assists. Jarron Johnson added 16 points while Alexandre Chassang contributed nine points and seven rebounds.
Wiltjer had 19 points for Turk Telekom but struggled with his shooting in most of the second half, finishing with 6-19 from the field. Ennis had similar problems (14 points on 3-11 shots) while dishing out 11 assists. Sam Dekker dropped 15 points and got nine boards.
Turk Telekom led with double digits early until Dijon caught up to make it a close affair, one in which both teams traded buckets.
It was Abdoulaye Loum that first handed Dijon a lead when he scored the 3-pointer (his first basket in the match) for the 60 – 61 late in the third period. He then dunked the ball and threw the block on Ennis, in a momentum-changing sequence for the French team. Turk Telekom fell behind and never recovered.