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El Herbalife Gran Canaria collects first EuroLeague road win (71-75)

Herbalife Gran Canaria rallied from a 12-point deficit to nip Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul 71-75 on Thursday at Volkswagen Arena for the club’s first road win in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Marcus Eriksson shined with a career-high 23 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting plus 4 steals to lead the winners, who improved to 3-7. Anzejs Pasecniks added 17 points and 8 rebounds and D.J. Strawberry scored half of his 10 points in a key 0-11 fourth-quarter run that gave Gran Canaria the lead for good. For Darussafaka, which lost its eighth straight game to fall to 1-9, Ray McCallum scored 13 points and delivered 7 assists.

Darussafaka’s starting center Micheal Eric was whistled for a pair of fouls inside the first minute and took an early seat on the bench, but his replacement, Emircan Kosut, made an instant impact with 4 points as the hosts took an 8-5 lead. Ray McCallum’s triple and free throws soon after extended the margin to 22-13. Eriksson came alive for Gran Canaria with 7 straight points and an Albert Oliver-to Pasecniks alley-oop made it 25-22 after 10 minutes. The visitors tied it at 27-27 with Oriol Pauli’s backdoor layup, but Jon Diebler fueled a 10-0 Darussafaka response with a deep three that prompted a Gran Canaria timeout. Kosut scored inside to give Darussafaka its biggest lead, 44-32. Pasecniks narrowed the deficit to 44-34 at the break. Gran Canaria got threes from Nikola Radicevic and Eriksson early in the second half to rally within 46-40. Eriksson’s fourth triple of the night and a three-point play by Pasecniks brought Gran Canaria highlighted a 0-10 Gran Canaria run to tie the score at 54-54. After Kartal Ozmizrak free throws put Darussafaka back ahead, Eriksson banked in a deep three for his team’s first lead, 56-57, at the end of the third quarter. Kim Tillie boosted the visitors with a three-pointer, however, McCallum soon took charge with an assist to Jeremy Evans and a pair of baskets of his own to give the hosts a 65-62 edge. Strawberry came to the fore for Gran Canaria with an assist and 5 points in a 0-11 run that gave the visitors control at 65-73. Ozmizrak scored a pair of quick baskets to give Darussafaka hope. Oliver made a pair of free throws with 51.3 seconds remaining that all but put the game on ice.

Game-changing sequence

Coach Maldonado called timeout after Ray McCallum’s layup put Darussafaka ahead 65-62 with 7:23 remaining and after the teams returned to the floor it was all Gran Canaria. The visitors scored the next 11 points while holding Darussafaka scoreless for four and a half minutes, during which time the hosts missed six straight shots and committed a pair of turnovers. D.J. Strawberry fed Kim Tillie for the go-ahead bucket and then scored 5 quick points to give his team total control.

Bench scoring fuels Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria got a big lift from its second unit in the form of 48 points – led by Marcus Eriksson and Anzejs Pacesniks, 18 rebounds, 9 assists (8 from Albert Oliver) and 6 steals and a combined performance index rating of 49. For all those numbers the second unit outpointed the starters and in some cases by a healthy margin.

Hustle pays off

Darussafaka actually outrebounded Gran Canaria 39-35, however, the visitors collected 18 offensive rebounds compared to Darussafaka’s 17. What’s more, Gran Canaria turned its offensive rebounds into 22 points, while the home side got only 13 second-chance points. Likewise, Gran Canaria got 20 points off 16 Darussafaka turnovers; Darussafaka got 13 points from 13 Gran Canaria turnovers. Maximizing the return on offensive rebounds and forced turnovers was a difference maker for the winners.

Next game

Darussafaka remains at home next week in Round 11 to host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and favorite son Scottie Wilbekin. Gran Canaria heads to Italy for a road date with AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan.