|Thomas Massamba and ETHA kept their campaign alive with a home win over Olin Edirne|
ETHA Engomi clawed back a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter and scraped a 70-67 win over Olin Edirne in Group F of the EuroChallenge on Tuesday.
The Cypriot outfit claimed its second victory of the season to stay firmly in the hunt for a spot in the next round of the competition while Edirne dropped to 0-4 and saw their faint hopes of progressing die.
The turning point in the contest came with 3:11 remaining.
Down 61-54, Darryl Jackson hit a three-pointer for ETHA and on the play, Edirne's Polat Kocaoglu was called for a push on Valdas Dabkus.
That decision kept the ball in the home team's hands and ETHA capitalized as Shawn Ray drove in and scored to make it a two-point game.
He was fouled on the play but missed the free-throw, however, Jackson sank two free-throws on Etha's next trip down the floor to knot the game and Ray powered his way up again for a lay-up and a 63-61 advantage.
Edirne got terrific play from Christopher Wright and stayed in the contest until the end.
His two free-throws leveled the scores at 63-63, but Dubkus hit a 15-footer from the left to put ETHA back on top.
Polat was way off target with an attempt from long range, and Ray went to the other end and split a pair of free-throws for a 66-63 lead with 11 seconds to go.
ETHA fouled Wright, perhaps too quickly, so as not to allow Edirne to attempt a potential game-tying three-ball.
Wright went to the line and made the first but intentionally missed the second and Dabkus rebounded for the hosts and was fouled.
He sank both attempts with eight seconds to play, yet Wright refused to let his team go down without a fight.
He rushed up the floor and made a three-pointer from the top of the key to close the gap to one with just under two seconds to go.
Wright argued that he had been fouled but his complaints fell on deaf ears.
Edirne had to foul Jackson and the guard sank both attempts for a three-point lead.
Wright put up a desperation heave from beyond half-court but missed everything as time expired.
Ray finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for ETHA (2-2), and Darryl Watkins added 14 points and eight boards.
Wright's 19 points paced Edirne.
Olin Edirne head coach Gokhan Tastimur:
Congratulations to Etha for the win, they played good defence. This is the first time that Olin is participating in the EuroChallenge. That was a very good experience for the team and also a preparation for the two left home games we have and also for our national league. We know we are not going to make it far in the EuroChallenge, we had 4 losses, the importance of all is that in our away games in Russia and Belgium, here in Cyprus we had the greatest atmosphere from the President to the last person in Etha. The hotel, the people, the hospitality, the transportation were all great and the most important than the game, was the feelings we had from Etha. All the best to Etha."
Olin Edirne player Christopher Wright:
"Great game of both teams, both teams played very good and this is the first time I am here in Cyprus. We had a very good time. Congratulations to Etha."
Etha Engomi head coach Antonis Constantinides:
"First of all, congratulations to both teams. It was an amazing game. The win for us was also for phychological reasons, after the bad results we had in the national league and the EuroChallenge. We played very good defence. We are a more defensive team than an offensive one. I want to congratulate my players for their effort to win. Now we have two away games in Russia and Belgium and we are going there to fight and according to the other game result, we hope for the better."
Etha Engomi player Darryl Watkins:
"It was a very good game after 3 home games, we finally won and we returned to our good old self. Today we struggled, we played good defence and that is why we won."