|Christopher Booker put up a nice double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, helping KRKA in their third Last 16 triumph|
KRKA Novo Mesto moved closer to a spot in the Quarter-Finals of the EuroChallenge by winning 84-75 at Dexia Mons-Hainaut on Tuesday night.
Coming off a disappointing defeat to Union Olimpija in the domestic cup over the weekend, KRKA rebounded to clinch their third win in four Group J games in the Last 16.
Pinar Karsiyaka are also 3-1 in the group after falling to a surprise home defeat to Antwerp Giants.
Dusan Djordjevic led the KRKA scoring parade with 19 points while the Slovenian side also got a great effort from Christopher Booker, who had 14 points and 13 boards.
Goran Ikonic was also in fine fettle, scoring 14 points, handing out four assists, grabbing four rebounds and coming up with two steals.
Dexia led 24-18 early in the second quarter but then saw their chances take a major hit.
KRKA's Smiljan Pavic caught a pass by Ikonic and dunked on a fast break to trigger a 15-0 run that put the visitors into a 33-24 lead.
Dexia closed the gap to six but an Ikonic jumper gave KRKA a 42-34 advantage at half-time.
The KRKA lead ballooned to 56-39 midway through the third quarter, only for Dexia to battle back and trail 60-55 late in the third period.
A three-ball by Alexandre Libert then reduced the arrears to 62-58 with 46 seconds to play in the frame.
That was as close as they would get.
Zoran Dragic hit a jumper and then two Djordjevic baskets for KRKA at the beginning of the fourth put them on the way to victory.
Dexia Player Sebastien Bellin:
"The result is very disappointing,because the coach prepared us very well as far as tactics was concerned. The problem is that we were unable to answer physically against a team very strong,and playing hard at all the levels,and I think that some players were not ready for such a battle. For our opponents,it was a true struggle for life,and we knew up and downs during the second quarter,and the situation obliged us to take many risks, but it wasn't sufficient."
Dexia Head Coach Arik Shivek:
"First,I want to congratulate my colleague, but since Novo Mesto is a great team, the players are accustomed to games like tonight. They can play with agressivity, and as I have players too young for games like that, it's quite difficult to win. In fact, our second quarter was very bad, and when we had the opportunity to come in the game, our hosts made many three points which did us harm. With the success of Giants in Izmir,everything was possible if we could have won,but now,it will be quite difficult to reach the next round."
KRKA Player Christopher Booker :
"We knew that Dexia had many qualities,and could put us in problems as far as the first leg was concerned. In fact,it was a very tough game,with much agressivity,and intensity,and we we were able to answer despite the fact that many players were in problems with fouls! Now,with a third success,it will be sufficient to win at home against Izmir next week!"
KRKA Head Coach Aleksandar Dzikic:
"Just before the game, I told my players they must have much respect for their opponents which were able to reverse the tendency,because they already put us in difficulties in Slovenia. As we already played a quite difficult game in cup last saturday against Ljublijana,I knew that this game could be a man-trap, but if we made the difference, it's specially due to our superiority in rebounds, and also in the free throws, because we only missed four on twenty-five! I'm very happy that another Belgian team helped us in winning in Turkey, because now, we've our fate in our hands..."