Nanterre silence home crowd, scoop EuroChallenge crown

Nanterre stepped out on the court in the deafeningly loud Hayri Gur arena in Trabzon on Sunday night, took a good look at the raucous 8,000 strong-crowd, and started off in defiantly solid and laser-focused fashion.

The French team’s stifling defence and the fact that Demarquis Bost got into foul trouble early on, took away large part of Trabzonspor’s creativity.

On the other end, an inspirational Jeremy Nzeulie drilled his first six shots from the floor for 14 early points and Nanterre established themselves in the driver’s seat midway through the opening quarter.

Nanterre used a 9-2 burst in the final 3:44 of the second period, capped off by an imperial Mouhammadou Jaiteh dunk 27 seconds from the second buzzer, to widen a 28-26 lead into a 37-28 cushion at half-time.

Jamal Shuler, as the beneficiary of a Trabzonspor turnover on the other end, finished the fast-break with a lay-up 5:15 from the third buzzer and gave Nanterre their biggest lead of the night, 48-36.

Trabzonspor were always going to react however and two consecutive baskets by Bost, the second a floater with 1:19 remaining in the period, reduced the gap to 50-47 and the crowd in the stands roared in expectation.

A triple by Campbell at the end of the third and another one by veteran Joseph Gomis at the start of the fourth gave Nanterre some breathing space, 56-47 with 9:11 left in the game.

That was though as comfy as any team was ever going to get again in this Final.

Kaloyan Ivanov and Velickovic grinded out successive baskets and the Bulgarian gave Trabzonspor their first lead since early in the opening quarter, 57-56 with 3:36 left on the clock.

A big three from the left wing by Kyle Weems with 1:02 remaining restored Nanterre in the driving seat but Hardy replied with two free-throws and then, 13 seconds from the final buzzer he put Trabzon up again with a bank shot, 63-62.

Trabzonspor, still out of the penalty in the fourth, first chose to give away a foul to Weems, which earned them a couple of seconds.

The crowd roared again as Nanterre in-bounded for those last 11 seconds and several fans began to celebrate when the ball dropped to Passave-Ducteil in the low post, with just over a second remaining.

They proved wrong, because that was all the time he and Campbell needed to win it for Nanterre.

“I grabbed the rebound and I had no time to look at the clock,” Passave-Ductei explained afterwards.

“I just saw TJ [Campbell] cutting to the basket.

“I didn’t think, I just gave it to him.

“I am so happy I didn’t pass him the ball too late, because it really feels so nice to win this trophy.”

By FIBA Europe

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