BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Dwight Buycks led all scorers with 29 points|
EuroChallenge semi-finalists BCM Gravelines Dunkerque suffered a major shock on Monday night, upon their return to domestic league action for the first time since the Final Four in Izmir.
BCM, which topped the French Pro A Regular Season standings, fell victim to the biggest surprise on the opening night of the first round of the post-season by losing 101-95 to eighth-placed Nanterre at home, after a double overtime thriller.
Christian Monschau's team will now have to win Game 2 on the road on Wednesday night to force Game 3 back home, or their season will come to a premature end.
The psychological impact of Monday's defeat is almost as important as the very practical loss of the home-court advantage as it revoked the painful memories of last year, when BCM had again finished in first place in the Regular Season only to be eliminated in the first round of the play-offs at the hands of Cholet.
The hosts seemed to have put Game 1 in the bag when they led by nine points, 72-63, with less than five minutes left to the end of regulation.
Nanterre went on a 6-0 run to edge closer and Chris Warren drained a shot five seconds from the final buzzer to tie the scores at 77 and send the encounter in the first overtime.
Warren kept finding the way to BCM's basket as the two teams arrived in the last possession of the additional period tied at 87; Dwight Buycks had the chance to win the game for the hosts but his three-point attempt did not drop in.
With their morale sky-high, Nanterre scored 14 points in second overtime while BCM missed again crucial shots from behind the three-point arc, and the unexpected triumph for the visitors came as a natural consequence.
Buycks led all scorers with 29 points and added six rebounds and four assists, Kennedy Winston had 18 points and captain Cyril Akpomedah contributed 12 points and seven rebounds in defeat while Ludovic Vaty only stayed on the floor for 17 minutes due to foul trouble but still had 10 points and five rebounds for BCM.
Warren meanwhile finished with a team-high 28 points and Juan Palacios picked up a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds for the winners.
Also on Monday, Strasbourg drew first blood in their series against Dijon with a 75-57 win at home, while Game 1 in the remaining two first-round series is on Tuesday night.
|William Thomas and his Pinar Karsiyaka team-mates will go up against Euroleague side Fenerbahce in the first round of the Turkish play-offs|
KARSIYAKA TO FACE FENERBAHCE
EuroChallenge runners-up Pinar Karsiyaka had already solidified their fifth-place finish in the Turkish BEKO Ligi on Friday night, with a morale-boosting 62-57 victory over Euroleague powerhouse Anadolu Efes on Monday.
Karsiyaka though went on to clinch another win on Monday, this time on the road, 81-60 against Olin Edirne, behind a double-double display of 20 points and 11 rebounds by Abdul Aminu.
Ufuk Sarica's team conclude their Regular Season schedule on Wednesday, with a home game against Erdemir, but its outcome will not influence the final table in any way.
In the first round of the BEKO Ligi play-offs, Karsiyaka will go up against fourth-placed Fenerbahce and Regular Season winners Galatasaray Medical Park will take on Tofas Bursa, a side that competed in the EuroChallenge Regular Season.
Efes meanwhile finished in second place and will face TED Ankara in the first round of the post-season, with Banvit doing battle against EuroChallenge 2012 champions Besiktas.