NY Harlem Advances to Quarterfinals of FIBA 3x3 World Tour Europe Masters
Coming up short 21-16 in its opening pool play game versus Šakiai (Lithuania), NY Harlem bounced back to take down Zemun (Serbia) 21-16 and finish 1-1 in pool play on Friday at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Europe Masters in Debrecen, Hungary. NY Harlem's 1-1 showing in pool play earned it Pool D's No. 2 seed for Saturday's quarterfinals round where it will meet 3x3 power Novi Sad
Opening pool play facing Šakiai (video replay of the game is available https://youtu.be/sVqMo_XOub8?list=PLUJgyisN_KcrXd4vDLZHRDB-hQfdoOL1nhere), a team NY Harlem had defeated previously in pool play at both the Debrecen and Hungary Masters, NY Harlem shot just 26.1% (12-46 FGs) for the game and despite a furious comeback fell 21-16 with :05 left in the game.
Tied 2-2, NY Harlem's shots refused to fall and Šakiai went on a 13-3 scoring rampage to grab control 15-5 with 5:57 left in the game. Brutus connected on a 2-pointer to stop a run of seven straight points by Šakiai. Šakiai countered with a 2-pointer to push its lead to 17-7, but NY Harlem refused to quit and behind 4 points on a pair of 2-pointers from Brutus, NY Harlem ripped off eight consecutive points to close within two, 17-15, with 1:37 left. That was as close as Harlem would get. Šakiai closed out the game with 4-1 run, including a game-clinching 2-pointer with five seconds showing on the clock. Brutus led NY Harlem's effort with seven points and seven rebounds, King added five points and nine rebounds and Esonwune also grabbed nine boards to go with two points.
Facing Zemun in its second and final game of Pool D play, NY Harlem won a physical game that saw 21 fouls called on the two teams and eight of NY Harlem's 21 points come from the foul line (video replay of the game is available here).
NY Harlem fell behind 6-2 and 8-4, but fought back to tie the score 8-8. Trailing 9-8, the game's momentum turned for NY Harlem after a Brutus was fouled on a made 2-pointer. With Zemun over the foul limit, Brutus was also awarded two free throws and after sinking both, NY Harlem had a 12-9 lead. Zemun battled back to make the score 12-11, but King drained a pair of free throws and Brutus dropped another 2-pointer to push NY Harlem ahead 16-11 with 4:08 remaining. Brutus and King each added a basket to up NY Harlem's lead to 18-12, then following two free throws by King, Jones sealed the 21-16 win with a pull-up basket with 2:23 showing on the clock. Brutus, who made 3-of-5 2-point shots, led NY Harlem with 10 points, King added eight points and Jones contributed three points.
Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock, and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner. Olympic fans will see the the inclusion of 3x3 in the Tokyo Olympic Games next July.