EUROCHALLENGE FINAL FOUR
|Tywain Mc Kee scored 19 points in Triumph Lyubertsy's win over Nizhny Novgorod|
The teams competing at the EuroChallenge Final Four appear to be in fine fettle.
Triumph Lyubertsy, Szolnoki Olaj, Besiktas Milangaz and Elan Chalon have been racking up the wins before turning their focus to Debrecen, Hungary, where the end-of-season EuroChallenge showpiece will be staged this weekend.
Young Russian outfit Triumph have continued to impress under coach Vasily Karasev.
They won convincingly at Nizhny Novgorod, 83-70, last week with Jerry Jefferson's 20 points and Tywain McKee's 19 leading a balanced offense.
"In terms of tournament position, I don't think this game was very important for either team," Karasev said.
"But given that the Nizhny Novgorod players performed in front of their fans, perhaps, it was more important to play with dignity and emerge victorious."
"For the Triumph squad, it was one of the last games before the Final Four of the EuroChallenge and we're a little anxious," Karasev said, explaining he did not want any of the players to pick up an injury.
"Ahead of us is an important event - not only for our club but also for Russia.
"So in some ways, the game was a bit nervous."
Sergey Karasev had 12 points for Triumph.
The Russian outfit, which has already secured third place in the PBL standings, then sent its second team to face Spartak Primorye to rest the first team for the Final Four and they crashed to a 105-59 defeat on Sunday.
Triumph will take on Elan Chalon on Friday.
BUSY CHALON KEEP WINNING
|Elan Chalon have had a very hectic schedule but this has not affected Blake Schilb's performances at all |
French outfit Chalon have had a busy spell in the build-up to Debrecen.
On Saturday, the Semaine des As winners travelled to Le Havre and trailed 39-38 at half-time but prevailed, 89-78.
Blake Schilb had 32 points and a game-high evaluation of 32.
Captain Steed Tchicamboud poured in 10 points and handed out a team-high seven assists as Chalon remained in second place and just two points adrift of Gravelines Dunkerque.
Chalon, the holders of the Coupe de France, are in action on Tuesday in that competition.
They are hosting Cholet in the semi-finals before hitting the road and travelling to Debrecen.
Gregor Beugnot, the Chalon coach, says his players are battle-hardened and can cope.
"This is what has been our strength this season, the fact that our players are competitors," he said.
Le Havre play at Pro B side Limoges in the other Coupe de France semi-final.
SZOLNOKI, BESIKTAS PREVAIL
Hungarians Szolnoki and Turks Besiktas, who prevailed in their respective domestic cup competitions, will carry winning momentum into the EuroChallenge Final Four.
Szolnoki completed a 3-0 sweep of Kecskemeti with a 66-64 home triumph to reach the semi-finals of the play-offs in Hungary.
Obie Trotter poured in 16 points and handed out 10 assists for Szolnoki.
Besiktas clinched an 81-77 victory at Trabzonspor to sentence that club to relegation from Turkey's top flight.
For Besiktas, who are fourth in the Beko Basketbol Ligi standings, Carlos Arroyo had 17 points and Ersin Dagli 16 along with 10 rebounds.