Smiling Karsiyaka Enter Defining Week

25 March 2013
4. Abdul Aminu (Pinar Karsiyaka)
Abdul Aminu and Pinar Karsiyaka enjoyed a good weekend ahead of a decsive week in Turkey

Pinar Karsiyaka are the only one of the three EuroChallenge semi-finalists which were in domestic league action at the weekend that have reasons to start the new week with a sunny disposition.

In addition to making a victorious return to Turkish BEKO Ligi action on Saturday, the Izmir side also saw key player Jon Diebler clocking good minutes for the first time in almost 40 days.

The shooting guard spent almost 24 minutes on the floor in the home game against Hacettepe University and finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three assists as his team cruised to an 83-69 win.

"Diebler is an excellent athlete and I am sure he will be back to the top of his game very soon," a satisfied Ufuk Sarica, Karsiyaka's head coach, commented on the 25-year-old American.

Diebler's reapperance meant than winger Melvin Sanders, who had stepped in for him during the EuroChallenge quarter-final play-off series with Paris Levallois, was out of the squad on Saturday but, according to Sarica, this doesn't necessarily mean he is out of the roster too.

The weekend game also confirmed the good run of form of William Thomas, who was the undisputed MVP of the quarter-final stage in the EuroChallenge.

The power forward led all scorers with 17 points and added five rebounds, while Turkish center Bora Pacun finished with 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting from two-point range.

Sarica hailed his players' ability to swift focus and take care of business following the wild celebrations after last Tuesday's 85-69 triumph over Paris in the decisive final game of the series.

"It is difficult to concentrate on the league after the fight in Europe but this was a must-win game, I congratulate the team," said the Karsiyaka coach.

"Now, we are entering a very important week in the league.

"It includes two games that I think could change the course of the campaign, if we manage to win them."

The Izmir team are currently in fifth place in the BEKO Ligi standings, with a 17-5 record, with eight games remaining in the regular season.

They are facing joint leaders Banvit on Wednesday and then take on Galatasaray Medical Park at the weekend.

Both these teams are at 19-3 and a double success for Karsiyaka would allow them to get back into the race for a top-four finish.

They are well clear of sixth-placed Besiktas at the moment, as last season's EuroChallenge champions stand at 13-9.



9. Kennedy Winston (BCM Gravelines)
A game to forget for Kennedy Winston and BCM Gravelines, who are still front runners in the Pro A

EuroChallenge semi-finalists BCM Gravelines Dunkerque and EWE Baskets Oldenburg were supposed to ease back into domestic league action with games against a priori accessible opposition, but their weekend did not go according to plan.

BCM gave up 53 points to their guests Nanterre during a catastrophic second half and succumbed to a 98-89 defeat at home in French Pro A action on Saturday night.

The Gravelines team not only missed the chance to become solitary league leaders but also saw reigning Pro A champions Elan Chalon, who won at the weekend, joining them in a three-way tie at the top that also includes Strasburg.

BCM however have a game in hand over both their rivals and could gain some much-needed breathing space if they win their two upcoming games, at home to Orleans and on the road against Roanne.

Small forward Kennedy Winston led all BCM scorers with 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor and added five rebounds, while Dwight Buycks and Julius Johnson had 14 points each in defeat.

Oldenburg suffered a similar fate in the German BEKO Bundesliga, as they lost 73-67 to mid-table side Phoenix Hagen, following a below-par second half-performance.

The EuroChallenge semi-finalists only scored 27 points in the final two quarters of the clash despite an excellent showing on the offensive end by Rickey Paulding, who led all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field in a losing effort.

Chris Kramer was the other Oldenburg player to score in double digits with 17 points and he added seven rebounds, while Adam Chubb collected a near double-double of nine points and 11 rebounds.



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