By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
ATHENS — Turk Telekom forward Sam Dekker refused to make any sort of excuses following the elimination of his team by JDA Dijon in the Basketball Champions League quarterfinals.
“As a professional, I have to hold myself to higher standards defensively and be focused. There were times I wasn’t,” Dekker said after the game.
“There were times where others weren’t but I can only speak for myself. We gave Dijon easy looks. That’s what got them hot and gave them confidence,” Dekker, who finished with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, added. His team suffered some major damage from range with Dijon firing 13 3-pointers.
The French side began imposing its will during the third quarter and entered the last lap with a 10-point advantage. Turk Telekom pushed for a comeback and brought the match to a situation to claim it with seven seconds left. Kyle Wiltjer’s game-winning attempt went off target.
“Dijon did what they wanted to do out there,” Dekker said. “They were the ones who played harder and wanted it more in the third quarter. Down the stretch when we were down by 10 points we put our stamp back on the game. But coming back from down 10 with three minutes left wasn’t easy to do.”
This was the first official game for 2020-2021 for Dekker and his teammates. He admitted that it was a kinda weird feeling to begin their obligations by playing a knockout match in a tournament that was organized to finish the previous season.
“We have to remember this is still the first game for the season. It’s hard having a first game become all the stakes. Win or lose,” Dekker mentioned. “We had some injuries. We’re trying to stay healthy with the coronavirus. We haven’t been together much. We have a new team, a young team. We have a big game with Efes and hopefully, we can learn from this loss and have a great BSL and BCL season.”