WBC Raiffeisen Wels are a team on the rise and Jason Conley is as good as advertised.
That much is clear after the Austrian team's 74-69 triumph over Besiktas on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Eurocup Qualifying Round tie.
|Jason Conley was outstanding both in the German BBL and in Finland before making the move to Wels|
'Air' Conley, who helped Lahti capture the Finnish title last season, moved to his new club and made a huge statement in his first European game with the club, erupting for 25 points and pulling down 16 rebounds in the win.
The Austrians have a lot of work to do, though, if they are to advance.
They must have the higher aggregate score after next week's second leg against Besiktas in Turkey.
Conley's lay-up gave the home side its biggest lead at 45-37, only for Besiktas to go on an 8-0 run bridging the first and second half to knot the contest at 45-45.
That was the last time the game was tied.
Davor Lamesic and Trenton Meacham scored on consecutive trips down the floor for Wels to make it 49-45.
The shot that really took the wind out of the Besiktas sails came at the end of the third quarter, though.
With the Turkish team having cut the deficit to just two on three straight possessions, Tilo Klette connected from behind the arc to make it 62-57 in favor of Wels heading into the last frame.
The Austrian outfit led by as many as nine in the fourth quarter and maybe could have won this game more decisively.
As it was, a pair of Lonny Baxter baskets left the home side with a five-point victory.
Baxter finished with 19 points and seven rebounds while Besiktas got a team-high 20 points from Cevher Ozer.
Lamesic also had a double-double for Wels. He finished with 12 points and 10 boards.
WBC-Headcoach Raoul Korner:
"Now we are five points in front. We have no pressure, but of course we want to win the match in Istanbul."
Istanbul-Headcoach Burak Biyiktay:
"Wels was a strong team. We didn't hit the open and easy shots, we often missed the basket. Next tuesday we will beat the Austrian team. Let´s wait for the match in Istanbul. The better team should win."