By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
A tight battle to start the Basketball Champions League Play-In series with multiple players ejected from both sides, Lenovo Tenerife managed to earn the win, 76-69, versus Pinar Karsiyaka.
Sasu Salin put Game 1 of the best-of-three series beyond doubt by connecting from beyond the arc with 27.8 seconds remaining. He missed his first five attempts to score from three-point range but opened the usual account with 6:33 left and went on to secure the win draining his second. The Finnish sharpshooter finished with eight points.
Marcelo Huertas was instrumental with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double as the team located in San Cristobal de La Laguna returned to action for the first game since December 21. Adding on the international flavor, Georgian center Giorgi Shermadini produced 14 points and Canadian forward Kyle Wiltjer ended up with 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Txus Vidorreta’s side survived Bruno Fitipaldo being ejected midway through the last quarter, after a couple of technical fouls. Karsiyaka star and last season’s MVP Bonzie Colson followed on the same path. Center Mahir Agva had marked the first early exit.
Experienced big man Alex Tyus recorded 16 points in the losing effort. Colson paired 15 points with seven rebounds. Can Korkmaz rounded up the double-digit scoring field with 13 points to his name. Michael Roll and Semih Erden remained out for the team coached by Ufuk Sarica.
After the lasting BCL original and inaugural champion avoided losing two games in a row at Santiago Martin for the first time in FIBA’s premier European club competition, Tenerife will travel to Turkey for Game 2. Game 3, if necessary, will bring the Play-In rivals back to Spain for the winner-take-all encounter.
Postgame press conference:
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League