|A pair of late threes by Sharaud Curry gave Team TEHO Sport Kotka the incentive for victory|
Bakken Bears have given up a 15-point lead on home territory to fall to Finnish side Team TEHO Sport Kotka 90-86, relinquishing them to the bottom of EuroChallenge Group L.
Trailing by five points, 65-70, with 7:05 remaining on the clock, Sharaud Curry set the Kotka juggernaut rolling, hitting a two-pointer before Chris Owens followed it up by tying the scores from downtown.
Then, with 2:03 to play and back down by one, Curry gave his team the decisive break, sinking back-to-back threes to provide Kotka the lead for the final 89 seconds.
The playmaker finished the night with a team-high 20 points and eight assists. Owens had 17 points, whilst Ryan Ayers provided 16 and wily veteran Jukka Matinen chipped in with a useful 15 points and eight boards.
With both teams seeking their first win in the Last 16, it was the Bears who got off to a scintillating start, racing ahead 22-15 by the end of the first quarter, thanks to the early incentive shown by Thomas Laerke who had 11 points in the frame.
The youngster went on to complete the evening with 18 points whilst Chris Christoffersen collected a game-high 22.
Momentum remained with the home team up to the half-time hooter, with the scoreboard flashing 41-33 in favour of the Bears.
However the pendulum began to swing in the other direction following the break, as Team TEHO Sport Kotka began to chip away at the lead, putting themselves in the position for Curry to take them on their decisive run.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka now improve to 1-1 whilst the Bears drop to 0-2.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka Player Aleksi Akpaso
"At the end of the game we had some very important rebounds, along with some crucial points from Sharaud Curry and Chris Owens. Bakken were tough and strong and I think it was a good game."
Team TEHO Sport Kotka Head Coach Sami Toivianen
"I was amazed by Bakken's intensity in their defence. Thomas Laerke played really well for Bakken, but I'm glad we were able to close him down in the second half. I'm super happy that we won, and it makes the trip home to Finland a lot easier."
Bakken Bears Player Nicolai Iversen
"We knew that the second round would be a lot more difficult than the first, so we had to play our best to compete. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to give us a win, but we were super determined to make a powerful effort today, and I think we can learn a lot from this game."
Bakken Bears Head Coach Ville Tuominen
"We took a huge step today, but unfortunately it wasn't big enough. I hope we get a lot of valuable experience from this game, and I think we have proven we can compete at this level. Now we just need to win."