Tartu Rock rode an 18-3 run at the start of the second half to a decisive 69-58 triumph at Greek strugglers PAOK on the opening night of the Qualifying Round in the EuroCup.
PAOK, who parted with coach Tab Baldwin after a heavy loss at home to AEK left them
bottom of the standings, have brought back former coach Kostas Flevarakis to coach the team for the first time in seven years.
|Dimitrios Verginis led a fourth quarter surge that managed only to make the score more respectable. |
Flevarakis steered the team to a Greek Cup triumph in his previous spell with the club.
Right now, PAOK will be looking to just win some games and judging from Tuesday, they may have to wait a while for that to happen.
They trailed for virtually the entire game, including a 31-22 deficit at half-time.
After closing the gap to 33-25 early in the third quarter, Estonian outfit Tartu scored 16 unanswered points.
Early in the fourth quarter the visitors’ lead ballooned to 60-34 and they cruised home, with PAOK only managing to make the scoreline look more respectable.
Flevarakis was on the bench for PAOK and offered an assessment after the defeat.
“We played against a team that has many players from the national team roster of Estonia and what we want to keep is the performance of our young players during the last quarter,” he said.
One of those players, presumably, was 20-year-old Dimitrios Verginis, who had the majority of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“I told my players in the locker room that this is the point we need to start from and we need to work hard,” Flevarakis added.
“I believe we’re going to make it defense wise; however, we have a big problem on offense.
“We don’t have any time at all, we need to move quickly and make the right choices.”
Tartu out-rebounded their hosts 40-25
The Estonian team’s Janar Talts had 15 points and nine rebounds while Brian Cusworth scored 14 and grabbed eight boards.