|Ryan Pearson paved the way for the Giants with a game-high 23 points|
Gaz Metan Medias' hopes of reaching the EuroChallenge quarter-finals are over after a late rally fell short in an 81-79 loss to Port of Antwerp Giants in Group I.
Medias needed a win to have any chance of progressing after losing their first three games in the Last 16, but although they fought back from 14 points down to get within two 44 seconds from time, they could not get over the hump as the Giants claimed win number two of this round.
Medias did not leave contention quietly, however.
The Giants led 78-68 after Barry Stewart nailed a three-pointer with 1:53 to go, but Medias responded as Willie Kemp followed a jump-shot with a three, and then capped that by getting the assist on another big three from Kyle Shiloh.
Suddenly a team who had trailed 62-48 late in the third quarter found themselves just two down, 78-76, inside the final minute.
But the Giants took time off the clock before Ryan Pearson drew a foul and hit both free throws, and after Kemp missed a three for Medias, Stewart split his free throws to make it 81-76 with 10 seconds left.
Aurelian Dumitrescu swished a three on the buzzer, but time had already run out on Medias.
Pearson led all scorers with 23 for the Giants, while Stewart added 14 and Maxime De Zeeuw 13.
Kemp poured in 20 points for Medias while dishing out 11 assists, whilst Shiloh had 20 points and Dumitrescu 18.
PO Antwerp Head Coach Paul Vervaeck
"We knew that we had to win here if we wanted to still get the chance to go to the next round. We saw a few games of Gaz Metan, so we were prepared for a tough game. Medias played very well at home and an example is the game against Samara, it's a dangerous team. For sure I'm very happy that we won. We had some problems in the last three minutes, it was very hot for us, they made some important three-point shots, but for the rest of the game we were very motivated, especially in the first half, our offence was ok. The difference was made in the third quarter."
PO Antwerp Player Benjamin Simons
"It was a very important game for us, we knew that they would come out and play very well at home. They shoot the ball very well and that was obvious in the fourth quarter. We prepared very well for this game, it was hard work but at the end, like I said, we really need the win if we want to go on to the next round of the competition.''
Gaz Metan Medias Head Coach Marcel Tenter
"Very tough game for us, they had very a constant performance except for the last three minutes. We knew that with the small rotation we have, we played with six-seven players, it would be very difficult to keep up the intensity during the entire game. So, we focused to keep a kind of balance until the fourth quarter, that was our plan before the game, to have a chance to win. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, despite the big effort of my player, which I want to congratulate them on. We are in a difficult situation, but we go out from this game with the heads up and prepare the next game on Saturday."
Gaz Metan Medias Player Tudor Dumitrescu
"It was a good and also a tough game for us. I'm very sorry because we didn't win, we gave everything for the victory, but it wasn't enough. We have serious problems with the roster, important players have injuries and that makes our rotation very difficult. We were close, but that's it."