|Nicolai Iversen's 13 points and 13 rebounds came in handy for the Bakken Bears as they edged out Leiden|
Bakken Bears Aarhus launched a stunning fourth quarter rally to snatch a 62-61 victory at ZZ Leiden in the final seconds of their EuroChallenge Group G opener.
The hosts led 53-40 at the start of the fourth quarter but let it all slip through their fingers as the Bears took the lead inside the final minute following back-to-back three-pointers.
Worthy De Jong tied it at 61-61 with a jump-shot 26 seconds from time but with just two ticks on the clock, Andreas Jakobsen went to the line and hit his second shot to see the Bears home.
The night began well for Leiden as they enjoyed the better of the first quarter and steadily built a handy lead, going up 21-12 on Sean Cunningham's three-pointer with 1:38 left in the first period and then 33-20 on Whit Holcomb Faye's lay-up midway through the second.
The Bears replied with seven straight but nevertheless trailed 35-29 at half-time and saw the deficit grow once again in a third quarter which ended with Joshua Duinker throwing down an alley-opp to make it a 13-point game.
The Bears served notice of their intention as Jakobsen nailed two three-pointers to start the final stanza, with Soren Qwist's jump-shot then made it 53-50 with 7:23 to go.
Scores from Duinker and De Jong kept Leiden narrowly in front but the Bears were plugging away at the advantage all the time and after Morten Sahlertz cut the gap to one with a three-pointer, Brandon Penn hit another to give the Bears the lead with 41 seconds left, 61-59.
De Jong then tied it but after Jakobsen split his free throws, Leiden could not use the remaining two seconds to set up a scoring chance, with Penn intercepting Mohamed Kherrazi's pass to end it.
Jakobsen and Nicolai Iversen led the Bears with 13 points each, Iversen adding 13 rebounds, while Penn scored 10.
Duinker had 20 points and 10 boards for Leiden, with De Jong scoring 15.
Bakken Bears shooting guard Andreas Jakobsen
"In the first three quarters we were really struggling. We were trying to hang in the game. In the beginning we were nervous, but when we started to hit some shots, our confidence grew. We have faith in our system and coach pushes us a lot to do good things on the floor."
Bakken Bears coach Ville Tuominen
"We knew Leiden is a great defensive team. That's a given. In the beginning we were kind of passive, maybe nervous. In Denmark we know all the teams, so that is easy. In the second half we put two guys at their point guard, so we took Leiden out of their rhythm, Then we started to get confident., When you try things and believe in yourself, great things can happen. Winning on the road is big."
ZZ Leiden forward Worthy de Jong
"We started the game good. Only at the end of the second quarter we gave up some points. In the second half we had also a good start. Then they played a press defense and we did not know what to do. We did not score for a long time and they came back."
ZZ Leiden coach Toon van Helfteren
"When you give up 21 offensive rebounds, you should be happy to loose by only one point. If we would have had only a few defensive rebounds more, we would have won this game. Winning at home is very important, so it will be difficult from now on."