BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Robert Dixon was the top scorer for Pinar Karsiyaka, as they handed Galatasaray their first loss in the Turkish league|
EuroChallenge Group A leaders Pinar Karsiyaka snapped Galatasaray Medical Park's unbeaten run in the Turkish BEKO Ligi on Saturday, with a hard-fought 72-69 victory at home.
The Izmir side was trailing by seven points after the third buzzer but a big final quarter lifted them over the domestic league leaders and helped them stay in fourth place in the standings with a 7-2 record.
Robert Dixon paved the way to success for Karsiyaka, with 27 points and seven rebounds while Turkish center Bora Pacun had one of his best performances this season, with 12 points and six boards.
The club announced over the weekend that they have added another promising home-grown player to their roster, Oktay Ulubay.
The 16-year-old point guard was included in Turkey's preliminary roster for last summer's U16 European Championship, whilst his twin brother Okben went on to win tournament MVP honours.
Also on Saturday, Tofas SC Bursa were so good in the first and third quarters of their clash with Hacettepe Üniversitesi that they could afford to lose the fourth by 12 points and still take an 87-79 victory and improve to 4-5 on the league table.
Ten Tofas players were given minutes on the floor and six of them scored in double digits, with Steven Burtt once again leading the team with 21 points and seven assists.
Krasnye Krylia took an important victory on the road on Saturday to stay in fourth spot on the VTB League Group A table.
The Samara side defeated Kalev Tallinn 83-73 behind 25 points from the league's joint-top scorer Chester Simmons and 21 from Aaron Miles, who also had six rebounds and three assists.
Tough Weekend For KRKA And Szolnoki
Adriatic League leaders Igokea proved too strong for KRKA Novo Mesto, who failed to follow up their big win over Karsiyaka on Tuesday with a second consecutive success at home and slumped to an 83-63 loss.
Jure Lalic was the best on the Slovenian side, with 11 points and five rebounds in defeat.
Szolnoki Olaj also had a bad weekend in the same competition, losing their pivotal encounter at Zadar, 72-54.
Latvian forward Ernests Kalve had 13 points in a losing effort for Szolnoki, who remain at the bottom of the league's standings.
Interim coach Dragan Aleksic was at the helm of the team in Croatia but the Hungarian club have confirmed they are negotiating with Serbian-born Austrian coach Neno Asceric.
Another Hungarian side, Lami-Véd Körmend, are Szolnoki's rivals for the remaining ticket to the EuroChallenge Last 16 from Group F and did not fare much better on Saturday night.
Körmend were facing domestic league leaders Atomeromu on the road and managed to stay in the game only for the first ten minutes, eventually succumbing to a 93-63 defeat.
Zvonko Buljan provided the only ray of hope for the guests, with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Both Södertälje Kings and Norrköping Dolphins will head into their respective deciding Tuesday clashes in EuroChallenge Group C following a troubling Friday night in the Swedish League.
The Kings lost 81-76 to Uppsala on the road, despite getting good performances by both Toni Bizaca and Kenneth Simms.
The Croatian-born forward led all scorers with 21 points while Simms picked up a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Dolphins meanwhile suffered an embarrassing 82-71 loss at home to bottom-of-the-table Nassjo.
Edgars Jeromanovs and Keith Gabriel had 16 points each for Norrköping in defeat.