Holon downs Brindisi 81-79 in overtime; punch ticket to Champions League Final 8

Hapoel Holon downed Happy Casa Brindisi 81-79 in overtime to punch their ticket to the Champions League Final 8 Tournament. Maxim De Zeeuw scored the winning basket with 1.5 seconds left thanks to a tremendous Guy Pnini inbounds pass from just to the side of the basket to send Stefonas Dedas’s squad into the final round of the competition.

The visitors stymied Holon high paced offense over the first half limiting the Israeli team to just 25 points, but after the halftime break CJ Harris, Chris Johnson and Tyrus McGee began to hit their shots, however, so did Brindisi as the game went into the extra session all knotted up at 72.

Holon Celebrates – Photo Credit: FIBA

Darius Thompson, Frank Vitucci’s star shooter kept Brindisi close all the way to the end but Holon’s veteran experience helped notch the victory to set off the celebrations with the club’s loyal fans at the Toto Arena. With the win, Dedas’s squad finishes in first place in Group I as the club will now look to host the event slated for next month.

CJ Harris – Photo Credit: FIBA

CJ Harris led the way for Holon with 24 points and 5 assists, Chris Johnson added 15 points and 7 rebounds, Guy Pnini checked in with 13 points and Tyrus McGee put in 12 points in the win. Darius Thompson scored 23 points, Mattia Udom chipped in with 11 points and Raphael Gaspardo scored 10 points in the loss.

Tyrus McGee – Photo Credit: FIBA

CJ Harris opened the game with a triple to get Hapoel Holon off and running in the first quarter but a dunk by Darius Thompson while points by Nick Perkins and Raphael Gaspardo gave Brindisi a 9-3 lead midway through the frame. Gaspardo put down a dunk, but points by Maxim De Zeeuw and Tyrus McGee kept the hosts close 16-13 after ten minutes of action.

Ousman Krubally and Alessandro Zanelli found points to open the second quarter, while Harris finally scored the first points of the frame for Stefanos Dedas’s squad with 3:08 left until halftime. Harris drilled home his third triple of the game and McGee filled the bucket but fine play by Mattia Udom gave the visitors a 30-25 lead at the half.

Nick Perkins – Photo Credit: FIBA

Gaspardo began the third quarter with a midrange on the baseline, Perkins put down a dunk but free throws from Chris Johnson and De Zeeuw plus a layup by Guy Pnini pulled Holon to within 34-33 midway through the period. Gaspardo cleaned up a Brindisi miss and Thompson found points, but Johnson, McGee, Harris and Isaiah Miles countered to give the hosts a 52-49 leads after thirty minutes.

CJ Harris – Photo Credit: FIBA

McGee and Harris found points to start the fourth quarter while Johnson also scored but Ricardo Visconti and Udom matched Holon at the other end to keep the game close 58-57 in favor of the hosts with five minutes remaining in regulation time. Harris kept scoring, Johnson nailed a pair of corner 3-pointers and Harris added one as well, but Thompson scored 8 straight points for Brindisi while Krubally and Josh Bostic each added a pair of free throws to tie it up at 72-72 to send the game into overtime.

Maxim De Zeeuw – Photo Credit: FIBA

James Bell scored his first points of the game but free throws from Johnson before fouling out gave Holon a 77-75 advantage. De Zeeuw hit his free throws but a triple by Thompson knotted the score up at 79-79. However, a brilliant inbounds play by Pnini to De Zeeuw from the baseline just to the side of the basket handed Holon the dramatic 81-79 win to advance to the Champions League Final 8.

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