12/19/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/19/2017 16:09
CLUJ-NAPOCA (FIBA Europe Cup) - Donar Groningen hit the ground running in the Second Round, holding off a second-half comeback by U-BT Cluj-Napoca to inscribe a 77-73 road victory in the Group L opener on Tuesday evening.
The Dutch champions outscored the home side 26-11 in the second quarter of the game to establish a solid foundation that helped them fight off a Giordan Watson-led challenge in the second half in Romania.
Turning Point: After leading by as many as 18 points in the contest, Donar saw their advantage melt to as little as 74-73 with just 18 seconds remaining on the clock after an Andrei Calnicenco three-pointer. However, that was as close as U-BT Cluj-Napoca got despite Evan Bruinsma splitting a pair of free throws on the end of the floor, with Stephen Domingo blocking Watson's attempt from in close and then icing the game with two makes from the stripe.
Game Hero: Despite not enjoying the best shooting night from the field, Donar Groningen point guard Brandyn Curry made up for it in other areas of the boxscore, finishing the contest with a well-rounded line of 15 points, 6 assists, 5 steals and 4 assists.
Stats Don't Lie: Donar needed all the help they could get in the second half and that is exactly what they got from the team's second unit. The Groningen side's bench stepped up in a big way and was the decisive factor in the game, having outscored their Romanian counterparts 34-14.
Het was billen knijpen op het einde, maar Donar gaat WINNEND het jaar uit. Cluj-Napoca wordt verslagen met 73-77!- Donar (@Donar_Official) December 19, 2017
Bottom Line: Having punched their ticket to the Second Round only in the dying seconds of the Regular Season, Donar Groningen knocked off Group E winners U-BT Cluj-Napoca on foreign soil and showcased the strength of their competition in the first phase.
They Said: 'It was a great team win! We struggled in the second half, but we found a way to pull it out in the end. We had a lot of contributions from a lot of different guys which was good. It gives us confidence moving forward.' - Donar Groningen forward Jason Dourisseau.