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.