BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Dwight Buycks led the way for BCM Gravelines with 25 points and four assists |
Three of the four EuroChallenge semi-finalists were victorious on the domestic front at the weekend but the two that had more reasons to celebrate were BCM Gravelines Dunkerque and EWE Baskets Oldenburg, who won on the road.
BCM clinched a convincing 90-76 success at Le Havre on Saturday and has put pressure on French Pro A co-leaders Strasbourg, who are facing a difficult away game at Lyon-Villeurbanne on Monday.
Christian Monschau's team started off the encounter looking a bit rusty and their hosts took a 26-19 early lead.
The Gravelines side quickly recovered and balanced proceedings to tie the scores at 41 by the end of the first half, and then pull away in the third frame, in which they outscored their opponents 25-16.
With BCM keeping their composure at the charity stripe and making 23 of their 26 free throws, the hosts were kept at arm's length in the final stanza and never threatened to regain the lead at any point until the end-game buzzer.
The return to form of Dwight Buycks was instrumental in BCM's success, as the point guard went 10-for-15 from the floor to lead all scorers with 25 points and also added four assists.
Shooting guard Abdoulaye Mbaye had one of his best nights this season and finished with 20 points while BCM captain Cyril Akpomedah chipped in with 16 points and four rebounds.
Following Elan Chalon's shock defeat to Nanterre at home on Saturday, BCM could become solitary leaders of the Pro A on Monday night, should Strasbourg fail to escape from Lyon with a victory.
Strasbourg boss Vincent Collet, who is also the head coach of the French national team, was full of praise for Lyon star Edwin Jackson on the eve of game.
"He has expanded his resources, he is more aggressive on the drive, rebounds and passes the ball better; he has gained body strength and has matured as a player, he is more composed," Collet said on this season's leading scorer in the Pro A among all French players (16.7 ppg), revealing that Jackson will be one of the newcomers when he announces his preliminary squad for EuroBasket 2013.
OLDENBURG STAY IN SECOND PLACE
Meanwhile in the German BEKO Bundesliga, Oldenburg followed up on their midweek success away at New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig with an even more impressive road win in Frankfurt on Sunday.
Oldenburg came back from nine points down to edge out the Fraport Skyliners 65-63, thanks mainly to a massive effort on the defensive end in the two middle quarters of the encounter, much like they had done last Wednesday against Braunschweig.
The guests gave up a total of only 21 points to their hosts during the second and third quarters, while displaying their sharp-shooting skills on the other end of the floor, as they sunk 10 of their 23 attempts from behind the three-point arc.
|Ronald Burrell stepped in for Oldenburg, scoring a game-high 20 points |
Ronald Burrell, who went 4-for-6 from that range, was the main option on offence and finished with a game-high 20 points and added four rebounds; Julius Jenkins had 13 points and four boards and Rickey Paulding picked up 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Sebastian Machowski's side keep a firm grip on second spot on the Bundesliga table thanks to this success, just one win above third-placed ratiopharm Ulm, who also won at the weekend.
Oldenburg's opponent in the second EuroChallenge semi-final, Final Four hosts Pinar Karsiyaka, also had a succesful weekend on the domestic front, albeit in a considerably less stressful way than either their German opponents or BCM.
Karsiyaka cruised to a 90-66 victory over Antalya BŞB at home in Turkish BEKO Ligi action and improved to 19-6 in the standings, staying in fifth place.
Veteran power forward Ümit Sonkol led Karsiyaka in scoring and rebounds as he collected 14 points and seven boards while point guard Robert Dixon finished with 12 points.
Swingman Jon Diebler, who returned from injury last week, showed signs of recovering his earlier form as he stayed on the floor for 27 minutes and contributed 11 points and two rebounds.
Krasnye Krylia were the only EuroChallenge semi-finalists to taste defeat this weekend, as they fell 72-59 at home to Eurocup finalists Lokomotiv Kuban in Russian PBL action.
The Samara side trailed almost right from tip-off and never managed to find their rhythm on offence in order to mount a challenge.
Omar Thomas finished with a game-high 18 points in defeat while power forward Andre Smith had 14 points and a team-high six rebounds for Krasnye Krylia.