|27 February 2012|
|Coach Vasily Karasev says the outcome of BC Triumph's deciding clash with Antwerp will largely depend on his team's attitude- much could also depend on his son,18-year-old Sergey, who's been in great form lately|
Tuesday is the final day of action in the Last 16 and five quarter-final tickets along with top spot in Groups J and Group L are still up for grabs.
TRIUMPH FEELING GOOD BEFORE CRUNCH TIME
There's no doubt that BC Triumph Lyubertsy acting head coach Vasily Karasev is ecstatic that his team is still alive in the EuroChallenge heading into the final day of action in the Last 16.
Losers of three straight at the beginning of Group L, Triumph have bounced back with two consecutive victories and go into Tuesday's home game against Antwerp Giants with a chance to progress.
"I think the game with Antwerp Giants is harder than the game with Artland Dragons because this game is for the Belgians, as well as for us, the last chance to win a trip to the EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals," Karasev said.
"The first and, in particular, the second group stage of the tournament turned out to be very difficult and now we must take the chance to go further.
"I think that the Giants are a team that we do not need to fear but should be treated extremely seriously, and we can't lose concentration.
"Much will depend on our attitude."
The attitude has been terrific of late.
At the weekend, Triumph won 93-87 at home against Ventspils in the Baltic Basketball League.
"For us, it is a very important and decisive game," Karasev said of the Antwerp clash.
"And for us, it will be very important to have the support of the fans, the atmosphere in the hall.
"We expect all our fans at the Sports Palace on Tuesday.
A win still may not be enough to move into the Quarter-Finals for Triumph, however.
Pinar Karsiyaka, Antwerp and Triumph are all 2-3 going into Tuesday.
Karsiyaka must travel to Germany to face Artland (4-1) and if they and Triumph prevail, each side would be 3-3 and the Turkish team would advance thanks to a superior goal differential in its two meetings with Triumph.
Goran Ikonic, the MVP of last year's EuroChallenge Final Four after leading KRKA Novo Mesto to the title, had 21 points for Karsiyaka in their 88-67 victory at Turk Telekom over the weekend.
CRUCIAL WEEK FOR ROANNE
Luka Pavicevic's Roanne Basket showed they could bounce back from the huge disappointment of a narrow defeat at EWE Baskets last week by scraping an 83-80 home win over Paris-Levallois in the French league.
| Karsiyaka need to win at Artland Dragons to keep their hopes alive and a performance by 2011 MVP Goran Ikovic similar to that he had on Saturday against Turk Telekom would definitely be very helpful to that end |
Thomas Larrouquis had 17 points and seven rebounds for Roanne, who must win at BK Ventspils on Tuesday to be assured of progressing in the EuroChallenge.
"Congratulations to my players," coach Pavicevic said.
"This was an excellent victory against a great opponent at a very important moment for us in the French championship."
Roanne trailed 21-13 at the end of the first quarter, 43-32 at half-time and 66-54 with 10 minutes remaining yet came back and won.
"The start to the game was difficult for us," Pavicevic said.
"We could see that we were affected by our defeat in Oldenburg despite having had a good game.
"We had played a game of high quality out there, we were very close to victory but we finally gave in.
"It was a long trip, tiring, and it explains our lack of aggression early in the game (against Paris).
"We struggled to stop them because they had a lot of variety in their game to score. The most important thing is not to have dropped psychologically. We simply had to play offense, impose our rhythm and be very aggressive on defense."
The crowd won't be able to help Roanne in Latvia when they take on Ventspils, but they did give Pavicevic's team a lift against Paris.
"The fans helped us," he said.
"Our team has struggled this season but really tries to give its best and public support is crucial."
EWE Baskets and Ventspils are also 3-2 heading into Tuesday's action.
The Germans must play at ZZ Leiden (1-4), who have no chance of progressing from Group I.
If EWE Baskets fall in Holland, the loser of the Ventspils v Roanne game would also progress since both sides have superior goal differential in their head-to-head meetings with the Oldenburg team.
GROUPS J AND K
In Group J, Elan Chalon (3-2) travel to Okapi Aalstar (2-3) and Telekom Baskets Bonn (3-2) are at home to Szolnoki Olaj (2-3).
Chris Copeland had 22 points as Okapi blew out VOO Verviers-Pepinster, 94-58, on Saturday.
Chalon, who celebrated Semaine des As glory and then won convincingly at home against Telekom Baskets, followed that up with an 80-77 weekend victory at Le Mans.
They remained at the top of the French standings ahead of Gravelines Dunkerque, with both sides on 35 points.
Chalon's victory over Le Mans, however, wasn't as decisive as it could have been.
They had led the hosts 71-51 at the end of the third quarter but just managed to hold on.
In Group K, Besiktas (4-1) will host Fuenlabrada (5-0) in a battle for first place.
Both sides had already clinched Quarter-Final places before last week's games.
BC NN (0-5) will take on BK Pardubice (1-4) a battle for pride.