Nahariya have proved to be the FIBA Europe League’s most potent offensive team this season. Their first game of the play-offs against Türk Telekom was no different, as they exploded for 101 points to secure the home win.
Turk Telekom managed to stay in touch with Nahariya for about 8 minutes of the first quarter before the home team stretched away. Strong interior defense from Michael Campbell and a double score from Parak Beleg sparked Nahariya into a 90-second run, and they led 30:23 after 10 minutes.
The next 2 quarters belonged solely to Nahariya. Sharon Shason hit 4 three-pointers in the second and despite using only their domestic players, Nahariya's lead stretched to 20 points.
By the 3rd quarter the gap was up to 34 and Turk Telekom had no hope of coming back into the game. At the end of the 3rd they had already amassed 86 points.
Nahariya took their foot off the pedal in the 4th, but the game was long decided as a contest and finished 101:78 in their favour.
Shason was selected MVP as the game’s top scorer with 26 points and 6/7 three-point shooting.
Turk Telekom looked like FEL strugglers at the start of the season, but a 3 game winning streak saw them sneak into the play-offs with a 6:6 record. Strauss Iscar on the other hand, made their mark early on the competition with 3 opening wins, and have never looked back.
Both teams have performed similarly well in their national leages. Turk Telekom are in 5th position in the Turkish league, while Nahariya are in 3rd with a 9-3 record, including victory over champions Maccabi Tel Aviv.
In terms of pure experience alone, Turk Telekom has been a more regular participant in European competition over the years. They qualified for the Pan-European phase of the Champions Cup last season, before bowing out with a 4-1 record. They retain the guard-forward partnership of Semsettin Bas (12.8 ppg) and Bekir Yarangume (12.1 ppg) from last season.
Nahariya are European club competition newbies, having never before participated. However, players such as Barak Peleg, Amit Ben David, Stevin Smith and Sharon Shason have extensive experience of national team and club competitoin.
Nahariya have 6 players who average double digits in scoring and are offensively strong all over the court. Turk Telekom get their leadership from the backcourt of Bas and American Monty Mack. Both players will have to increase their numbers
Nahariya have quite literally exploded onto the FEL this season, most notably on the offensive front. They lead all teams in scoring at 90.7 ppg. Turk Telekom have struggled putting the ball in the basket and have managed 74 ppg, finishing the qualifying round with a goal average of –15.