Ventspils Overpower Kataja, Grab Key Win


12. Donald Sims (BK Ventspils)
Donald Sims led the way for Ventspils with a game-high 21 points

BK Ventspils blew Joensuun Kataja away in the third quarter to grab a 75-61 key win in Group I of the EuroChallenge Last 16.

In a contest of two teams sporting 1-2 records and knowing defeat would leave them cut off at the foot of the standings, Kataja enjoyed the better of the first half to lead 36-30 at the interval.

But Ventspils looked like a different team in a stunning third quarter as they outscored the visitors 25-9 to take a commanding lead, continuing to pull away down the stretch.

Donald Sims scored 21 points to lead them to victory, with Arturs Berzins adding 13 and Sandis Valters 10.

After a tight first quarter, Kataja had been the first to make a move midway through the second, with a 7-0 spurt guiding them to a 31-23 lead after Johnell Smith's jump-shot.

Jermaine Flowers split a pair of free throws to give them the six-point advantage they held at the break but it would have been more were it not for missed shots from Daniel Coleman and Antti Kanervo before the buzzer.

Given the way Ventspils started the third quarter, however, it is hard to imagine those shots making much difference as the hosts dominated at both ends.

Valters got it started with a big three and when Sims hit another for long-range mid-way through the period, they were up 45-41, a 15-5 run since the break.

Another Sims three would push the lead to double figures and the third period ended with the score 55-45 after Petri Virtanen hit a jump-shot in reply to Folarin Campbell's free throws.

Ventspils had their tails up now, and Campbell's three highlighted an 8-2 spurt to start the fourth quarter, making it 63-47.

Three-pointers from Kanervo and Flowers helped stem the tide for Kataja but they could not reverse the flow as Ventspils saw the game out comfortably.

Smith and Kanervo had 12 points each for Kataja with Flowers adding 11 and Virtanen 10.


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