|03 December 2012|
The Tuesday Group D clash between Gaz Metan Medias and Tartu University Rock represents a second match-ball for the hosts but its outcome also carries huge importance to the visitors.
Medias are top of the group with a 3-1 record and will clinch a place in the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge with a win.
The Romanians had the chance to seal their passage last week but slumped to an 83-79 defeat at JDA Dijon.
Tartu (2-2) on the other hand started the Regular Season with two consecutive losses and now have the opportunity to turn the table on its head and emerge as frontrunners in the race to win the group.
The Estonians lost the reverse fixture by two points and if they were to prevail over their Tuesday hosts by three or more, they could suddenly take the upper hand in a potential two- or three-way tie, as they already have a head-to-head advantage over Khimik.
Medias have lost two consecutive games, for the first time this season, in the space of five days.
They followed up their away loss to Dijon with a painful 98-93 home defeat to CSU Atlassib Sibiu in overtime, in the Romanian LNB on Saturday.
The common thread in both games is that they gave up 83 points (in regulation) to their opponents and their rotation proved very short.
Titus Nicoara and Paul Graham came off the bench and combined for 31 points on Saturday, but this does not change the fact that just six players scored 91 of Medias' 93 points, in a game that went into overtime.
Deven Mitchell collected a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds, but was 7-for-16 from the floor.
In stark contrast, Tartu cruised to a 99-69 victory over Lietkabelis in the Baltic League on Saturday.
Coach Gert Kullamae had the chance to share playing time around and saw every player on his squad write their name on the scoresheet.
Shooting guard Kristo Saage led the very balanced Tartu offence with 13 points.
|Justin Ingram has been a true leader for Tartu Rock |
SEASON SO FAR
If there is one thing the two teams have in common is that they remain true to their own distinctive style of play in all competitions in which they participate.
Neither is expected to change their ways on Tuesday and therefore the EuroChallenge Week 5 TV game is above all a clash of styles.
Medias feel comfortable in up-tempo games, take a laissez-passer approach on defence and aim to outscore their opponents on the other end of the floor.
The Romanians have an average output of 82.2 points a night, the seventh-highest in the competition.
They shoot the ball much better when they pass it inside, hitting 58.9 percent of their attempts from two-point range, ranking third-best in the EuroChallenge.
Mitchell is leading the team in both scoring and rebounds, with 17.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
Point guard Slobodan Dundjerski leads the team in assists, 3.8 on average, and also contributes 13.7 points a night.
On the other hand, Tartu have the best defence in the group and are indeed the fifth stingiest team anywhere in the EuroChallenge, conceding an average of 71.5 points per contest.
The Estonians allow their opponents to attempt only 53.8 shots from the floor on average and are second only behind Oldenburg (against which you'll be allowed to take a mere 53 shots per game) in this respect.
On the offensive end, Tartu revolves around Justin Ingram.
The American point guard leads the team in scoring (17.3 ppg), assists (4.5 apg), steals (1.5 spg) and is even the top rebounder, corralling five boards per contest.