Last 16 Week 2 Review

19 January 2012

EUROCHALLENGE

7. Zvonko Buljan (Telekom Baskets)
Bonn forward Zvonko Buljan made two important free-throws with 1:24 left on the clock to help the German team turn the game on its head and beat Elan Chalon

For those who watched the second round of games in the EuroChallenge Last 16, it's time to sit down and catch your breath.

It was a humdinger of a week that had several close games, including a 91-89 heart-stopper on Wednesday night in which Telekom Baskets Bonn mounted a late comeback and beat Elan Chalon.

The French club, atop its domestic standings and gunning for a fifth successive triumph in Europe, appeared to be headed for victory.

They had made 16 shots from behind the arc and were on top 87-82 with 1:24 to go.

Telekom Baskets maintained their poise.

Zvonko Buljan sank two free-throws for the hosts and after Abdul Aminu missed for Chalon, Jared Jordan tied the contest at 87-87 with a three-pointer.

Chalon went for another three-pointer but Nicolas Lang was off target, and Anthony Gaffney dunked his team into an 89-87 advantage.

The visitors tied the game in the waning moments with a Blake Schilb lay-up but Simonas Serapinas nailed a game-winning jumper at the death.

Telekom Baskets had the home backing, but they played without veteran Chris Ensminger and still managed to win to leave all four sides in Group J with 1-1 records.

It's not often that a team does shoot as well from behind the arc as Chalon did and still loses, but Telekom Baskets also shot lights out from downtown.

The Germans were 14 of 30 from the great beyond, with Jordan a perfect three of three.

As for Chalon, Ilian Evtimov sank all seven of his attempts from long range and is now shooting a scalding 50% (28 of 56) on the season.

The other Group J game saw Szolnoki Olaj throttle Okapi Aalstar, 112-76.

Akos Horvath had 29 points while Obie Trotter poured in 28.

Trotter also had eight assists, five rebounds, four steals and a block and was named as the EuroChallenge Player of the Week.


ANOTHER PENNEY EXPLOSION

Fuenlabrada came good late and won in Group K at BK Pardubice, 79-73.

The Spanish club relied heavily on the long-range shot, making 13 of 31.

Kirk Penney, their New Zealand international who killed Valencia with 27 points on Saturday in the Liga Endesa, was five of seven from behind the arc as Fuenlabrada improved to 2-0.

Also in Group K, Besiktas Milangaz remained the competition's only unbeaten side with a 75-64 victory at BC Nizhny Novgorod.

44. Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Besiktas Milangaz)
In addition to sporting the coolest pair of protective glasses in the EuroChallenge, Pops Mensah-Bonsu had another fantastic game for unbeaten Besiktas on Tuesday with 20 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks

Pops Mensah-Bonsu led the Istanbul side with 20 points and 12 boards.


HOLLAND'S BIG MOMENT

If ZZ Leiden are playing for an entire country and trying to raise the profile of basketball in Holland by staying alive in the EuroChallenge, they're accomplishing that mission.

The team enjoyed the biggest comeback of the week in stunning BK Ventspils in Latvia, 73-69, in Group I.

The Dutch team, trailing 45-22 early in the second half, refused to give in.

Choral Roanne, meanwhile, ended the perfect season of EWE Baskets in the EuroChallenge with an 86-80 home triumph in France.

John Holland again rose to the occasion for Roanne who saw their lead cut to just two, 82-80, with 43 seconds left on the clock, after four straight points from Rickey Paulding.

Holland made a jumper from inside the arc to stretch the lead back to four and Roanne held on to improve to 2-0.


KARSIYAKA ROLL

Pinar Karsiyaka were tough to beat at home last season in the EuroChallenge and they certainly weren't going to be denied in Izmir on Tuesday against Antwerp.

The Turkish club, getting 22 points from Mire Chatman, won 70-51 to improve to 2-0 in Group L.

Artland Dragons also improved to 2-0 in Group L with an 83-74 victory over Triumph Lyubertsy.

One team was able to connect from the arc, and the other wasn't.

Adam Hess had 18 points to lead the winners, who buried nine of 22 shots from long range while Triumph missed all 18 of their three-ball attempts.

Triumph did not have their cause helped at all by the absences of injured duo Victor Zvarykin and Kyle Landry.

Four players were on the court for at least 32 minutes and a fifth, Dmitry Kulagin, played 27 minutes.

Alexey Vasilyev, a member of the Triumph Lyubertsy coaching staff, admitted: "It was a tough game for us with all these injuries. We basically only had a six player rotation..."


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