|14 March 2012|
|Zoran Erceg led Besiktas Milangaz to a very close victory at Artland with a season-high 24 points |
The EuroChallenge Quarter-Finals started with a blowout but finished with three nail-biting games.
While BK Ventspils pulled away for an 82-63 win over visiting Szolnoki Olaj on Tuesday evening, Elan Chalon were the only other home team to win and they did by a whisker.
Blake Schilb's basket in the waning seconds gave Gregor Beugnot's team a 75-73 win over French rivals Chorale Roanne.
Besiktas Milangaz and Triumph Lyubertsy, meanwhile, each prevailed on the road by just one point.
The Turkish club edged Artland Dragons in Germany, 74-73, and Triumph scraped a 76-75 win at Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada - a team that didn't lose in the Last 16.
Nothing is decided yet, with each Game 2 to be played on Tuesday night.
Fuenlabrada will help their cause if they settle down at the free-throw line.
Porfirio Fisac's team was a woeful 12 of 21 (57.1%) at the stripe against Triumph.
When a team falls by one point, every single one of those misses is huge.
Even so, Fuenlabrada, who trailed by as many as 14, still had a chance to win at the death but after Joaquin Colom penetrated into the lane, he missed a lay-up at the buzzer.
Vasily Karasev, the Triumph coach, says the noise created by the 5,160 fans at Fuenlabrada made for a memorable evening.
"I loved the atmosphere the Spanish fans created," he said.
"I really appreciate that attitude.
|Joaquin Colom missed a lay-up at the death and Triumph Lyubertsy celebrated the biggest upset of the night against previously undefeated Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada|
"With that atmosphere, it is always easier to play."
Artem Kuzyakin, the Triumph captain who had 19 points before fouling out, echoed the sentiments of his coach.
"Playing in a vibrant atmosphere always makes you give the best you have," he said.
Jerry Jefferson also had 19 points for Triumph, who played without youngster Sergey Karasev.
Game 1 MVP Kyle Landry underlined his importance to Triumph with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
For Besiktas, they had to fight all 40 minutes to claim a one-point win at Artland in Germany.
Carlos Arroyo scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half on Tuesday night, including a go-ahead free-throw with just three seconds remaining, as Besiktas claimed a 74-73 victory.
Zoran Erceg had a season-high 24 points for Besiktas.
As for the lone blowout, Ventspils continued their nice turnaround after an 0-2 start to the Last 16, and the team got solid efforts from Latvia internationals Arturs Berzins and Ronalds Zakis.
The former had 16 points while the latter finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds - both season highs.
Szolnoki are a very tough team to play when they are at home and in front of their fans, so this Quarter-Final, just as the three others, could end up going to a decisive third game.
Thursday should provide many more thrills.