Kataja Stay Alive With Stirring Rally

19 February 2013

20. Daniel Coleman (Joensuun Kataja)
Kataja's Daniel Coleman recorded a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds

A huge fourth quarter rally kept Joensuun Kataja alive in Group I of the EuroChallenge as they came back to edge out Gaz Metan Medias 79-75.

A defeat would have ended Kataja's hopes of getting out of the group, and that is the way they were heading as the visitors held a 47-31 lead early in the third quarter and a 62-49 edge going into the final stanza.

But Kataja had other ideas, and Petri Virtanen hit a three-pointer to follow Sami Lehtoranta's jump-shot as they came roaring out of the blocks early in the period.

Lehtoranta had nine points in a 17-0 run that then flipped the game on its head, with his three-pointer making it 65-64 to Kataja before another from Antti Kanervo pushed their lead to six. Lehtoranta capped the run by splitting a pair of free throws to make it 71-64.

But they still had a nervous finish as Medias tried to come back at them.

A three-point play from Adrian Gutoaia made it 72-69 before Daniel Coleman padded Kataja's lead with a tip-in, following up after Lehtoranta failed to tidy up Virtanen's initial miss.

Zoran Krstanovic hit another jumper to close the gap back to three, but Kataja got a break when Gutoaia turned the ball over following Jermaine Flowers' missed three, and Coleman was able to make it a five-point game with a jump-shot 46 seconds from time.

Rares Mandache split a pair of free throws to make it 76-72 with 34 seconds left but Ivan Lilov missed a three-pointer from Coleman's turnover.

The tension was mounting, not helped when Coleman missed two free throws to allow Slobodan Dundjerski to cut it to 76-74 with 10 seconds left.

But Flowers hit two free throws at the other end and Kataja clung on for victory.

Flowers led Kataja with 16 points while Coleman and Kanervo had 14 each with Lehtoranta adding 11.

Lilov led Medias with 18 points while Aleksandar Mladenovic had 12 and Dundjerski 11.

The result leaves the two teams tied with 2-3 records in the group.



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