TV Game Preview: Ventspils vs. Szolnoki

19 March 2012

EUROCHALLENGE

EuroChallenge Game of the Week 20/03 Ventspils v Szolnoki
Watch the EuroChallenge Quarter-Final Play-Offs deciding third game between Ventspils and Szolnoki here. LIVE broadcast starts on Tuesday at 17:50 CET

An entire season of EuroChallenge basketball for Ventspils and Szolnoki Olaj comes down to 40 minutes on Tuesday night when the teams meet in the deciding third game of their Quarter-Final showdown.

Ventspils hosted Game 1 at home and will have the home support for Game 3 in Latvia.

Gundars Vetra's side prevailed in the opener, 82-63, but slipped up in Hungary on Thursday in Game 2, 82-76.

Vetra would have preferred to have booked a spot in the next phase of the competition with a 2-0 sweep, and they had a great chance after leading late in the fourth quarter.

He was not hitting the panic button after the Game 2 setback.

"Every time you lose, you are upset but you have to calm down and forget it and learn from your mistakes," he said.

SEASON SO FAR

  • BK Ventspils started this season with visions of playing in the Eurocup but lost in a two-legged tie to Azovmash in the Qualifying Round. They have had ups and downs in Europe. Vetra's team showed remarkable poise. In a 17 January home game against ZZ Leiden, Ventspils lost 73-69 after blowing a 23-point lead in the second half. They rebounded with five consecutive victories, including a couple of heart-stopping triumphs over Chorale Roanne by a combined three points.
  • Szolnoki went into the 2011-12 campaign looking to make it into the EuroChallenge and they didn't start well, falling 77-69 in Finland to Tampereen Pyrintö in the first leg of their Qualifying Round tie back on 4 October. But Peter Por's team bounced back with a 69-57 win in the return leg for a four-point success on aggregate. At home, the have been nearly unbeatable, winning 12 of their 13 games in the EuroChallenge as hosts the past couple of seasons.

 

THE HOT HAND

  • Akos Horvath has been lethal from behind the arc for Szolnoki, making 34 of 67 (50.7%) in Europe this season.
  • Arturs Berzins, a power forward, has buried 27 of 58 (46.6%) of his attempts from long range in Europe for Ventspils.

 

THE X-FACTOR

  • Mamadi Diane, a 1.96 swingman of Ventspils, is averaging 14.5 points in Europe but has struggled in his last two games, making five of 15 shots from the floor and turning the ball over 11 times.
  • Brandon Gay failed to register a single point in Game 1 but had 12 on five-of-seven shooting in Game 2.

 

KEY MATCH-UP

Battle of the point guards between Steven Gray of Ventspils and Obie Trotter of Szolnoki.


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