The Eurocup Last 32 has begun, and Nanterre needed two sessions of overtime to adjust to life after the Euroleague.
The French side though began life in Europe’s second tier with an 88-84 win over FoxTown Cantu in Group I.
Nanterre looked to have the momentum heading the final period of regulation. A 13-1 run in the third had them up 53-46 in what was a defensive battle. That run was the first real offensive spurt in a real tactical battle between the two teams.
Pietro Aradori saved the Italians and forced overtime with clutch free throws at the end of regukation, and in a role reversal, Deshaun Thomas saved the hosts with 11 seconds of the first session of overtime left to send the two teams into an extra five minutes.
A triple from Sergii Gladyr, early in the second overtime period – his seventh three-pointer on the night – en route to a game-high 30 points for Nanterre was a knockout blow for a resilient Cantu side and the battle was won. David Lighty added 12 points for the winners.
“We didn’t play a particularly good game, and not better than in December, but we found our offensive leader again with Sergii Gladyr,” Nanterre coach Pascual Donnadieu said afterwards.
“We missed him a lot and it was obvious for everybody tonight. Kevin Lisch, despite not making shots, played a solid game also: he hadn’t played since the end of September. It was a tough game.”
The game took its toll on both teams, for Nanterre; instead of playing 14 games of the Top 16 in the Euroleague, they will look to go far in the Last 32 where just six games are played. They’re 1-0 with five games still to play. Cantu can count themselves unlucky not to steal one here. They start 0-1 after going 8-2 in the Eurocup Regular Season.
“We played great defence in the second and fourth quarters,” said Cantu coach Stefano Sacripanti. “When arriving to overtime, it’s a question of heart, and some luck.
“Gladyr played an amazing game, while we failed from the free throw and three-point line. It’s too bad, as I really thought we had lost at the end of regulation, but I thought we won it in overtime. But it’s basketball.”
Adrian Uter led Cantu with 25 points.