| ||To say Yarone Arbel likes basketball would be an understatement of epic proportions. He eats, sleeps and breathes it and gives his EuroChallenge impressions every week in By The Numbers. |
The first week in the Last 16 phase brought to the table some big upsets.
Four road wins and only a single game decided by more than eight points to create the feeling every sports fan wishes for - everything is wide open.
A 35 with 27: Few gave KK Zagreb a real chance to play a key role in the Last 16 after the departure of the great young prospect Ante Tomic to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid. But at the end of the first 40 minutes of this phase the Croats hold an 82-79 road win over Belgacom Liege. With the dependence on a young player out the window the squad from Zagreb went with a veteran in Damir Mulaomerovic. The 35-year-old guard who holds a Euroleague title and four Euroleague Final Four performances under his belt stepped up with 27 points, seven assists, four three-pointers, plus 11 out of 12 from the foul line - all of which are season highs.
56.5% vs. 92.9%: KK Buducnost isn't among the top free throw shooting team in the competition, but one would think that on their home court, with their familiar rims and feel, they will shoot at least as good as the opponent. This week, against Elan Chalon, it was the other way around as the locals hit 13 free throws for 56.5% while the French side scored the same amount but out of 14 attempts to reach 92.9%. Perhaps the difference was in the spread, as in Buducnost seven players went to the line, and two of them combined for zero hits in six attempts to help reach the low figures. In Chalon only three players went to the line the entire game, and Blake Schilb hit all his six shots in the closing 3:30 of the game. Considering Chalon won by only three, free throws played a key role and stood between the locals and a key win.
Double-Double-Double: BG Gottingen enjoyed the only double-digit win margin in the opening week of the Last 16, with a 92-59 victory over Proteas EKA AEL. One of the main reasons for the one sided game was an almost identical performance by big guys Jason Boone and Dwayne Anderson of Gottingen. Rarely do two players on the same team write a double-double in the same categories, but that's exactly what happened in this case. Boone had 16 points and 10 rebounds while Anderson came close with 15 points and the same amount of boards in addition to four assists.
|Jason Boone was one of two BG Göttingen players to register a double-double.|
Double-Double rejects: If two players on the same team writing the same type of double-double isn't unique enough, here's another odd occurance. JR Bremer of Krasnye Krylia set an individual season high of 11 points, but couldn't complete the double-double with only seven rebounds. It's not a big surprise since Bremer isn't a great scorer. Oddly enough in the same game we saw the same scenario after Dean Oliver of the locals reached 10 assists but only eight points.
23+16: One of the most impressive double-doubles of the season was written in Krasnoyarsk where the local Enisey hosted Roanne Basket of France. Uche Nsonwu registered his season high in points (23) and rebounds (16), good enough to tie the second best rebounding performance of the season. Nsonwu is an aggressive and wide big guy from Nigeria, who recovered from his worst performance of the season in the previous game with one of the most impressive displays of the season.
10 in 11: BC FMP initiated their home game against Artland Dragons with a missed shot after less than 20 seconds, but it was the exact opposite of what's about to come in the very near future. After less than six minutes the locals held a 22-5 lead, on the way to a 20 point difference between the teams at the end of the first quarter. FMP hit 10 of 11 shots during the first run.
0 in 11: Roanne might have enjoyed a big night on the inside by Nsonwu but suffered from a terrible performance by two of their guards. Pape-Philippe Amagou and Mouloukou Diabate - both small guards from the Ivory Coast - missed all of their 11 shots from the field, six inside the arc and the rest beyond. Considering their team lost by five and if they had shot in even less than decent accuracy, things could have been better.
9 in 50: With 77 seconds to play Enisey Krasnoyarsk took a 70-59 lead which seemed enough for a win, but saw Roanne came very close to write one of the biggest comebacks of the year. In the next 50 seconds the visitors scored nine points in a row - two long range hits from Ralph Mims and a three-point play by Nicholas Lewis. The locals scored a point from the charity stripe and left Roanne a chance to tie, but this time Mims missed.
2: Another Russian side, Krasnye Krylia, was involved in a very similar case in their visit to Holland where EiffelTowers Den Bosch waited for them. The scoreboard showed 2:27 to play with the score set on 81-69, but soon the visitors wrote an 11-2 run to make it just a three point game with 41 seconds on the game clock, only to miss the chance to complete a big comeback in a unique way. D. Oliver of the Dutch side went to the foul line to shoot two, and made only the first shot. Krylia still had enough time down by only four, but missed only one thing - the ball, as Den Bosch grabbed the offensive board. Another quick foul and this time A. Richardson and the same scenario was played. Richardson made only the first and once more the locals were first on the ball to secure the win.
4 < 5: Proteas EKA AEL were the only team this week to suffer a big defeat, and they can blame themselves. The entire team combined only 4 hits from downtown for 19%, less than just a single Gottingen player - Robert Kulawick who kept his best shooting night for this game with 5 three-pointers on 41.7% and a season high of 17 points.