Only one team clinched qualification to the Last 16 from groups A-through-D during Game Day 5 action, as midweek results set up qualification showdowns on the final day of the Regular Season in all four pools.
|Jaka Klobucar and KRKA handed a first defeat to Pinar Karsiyaka|
On Tuesday night, KRKA Novo Mesto pulled off something only one other team has managed to do in either the EuroChallenge or the Turkish BEKO Ligi this season: they scored 80 points against Pinar Karsiyaka.
Center Jure Lalic and small forward Edo Muric combined for 42 points and the Slovenian side beat the Turkish group leaders 80-74.
Muric added eight rebounds and five assists to complete his all-round performance for the hosts.
KRKA did not make up for the 23-point defeat Karsiyaka had inflicted on them in the first game and can no longer challenge the Izmir side for top spot in the group.
The Tuesday victory however enables them to clinch qualification if they beat Tofas Bursa SC in the final-day game even by a single point.
Interestingly, Tofas are the other team to have accomplished the 80-point feat against Karsiyaka.
On Tuesday, they were hosting Michelin ETHA Engomi and breezed past the Cyrpiots, 87-54.
Austin Nichols had 21 points for the winners and Steven Burtt chipped in with 15 points and eight assists to help set up the qualification showdown with KRKA next week.
STANDINGS: Pinar Karsiyaka 4-1; KRKA Novo Mesto 3-2; Tofas Bursa SC 3-2; Michelin ETHA Engomi 0-5.
Joensuun Kataja players, coaches and fans came to comprehend fully the meaning of the phrase 'far away, so
| Juho Nenonen and Joensuun Kataja came so close to clinching their Last 16 spot|
close' on Tuesday night, when they fell just one point short of securing a place in the Last 16.
The Finns defeated Keravnos Strovolou 71-66 and simply matched the five-point margin of victory the Cypriots had taken in the reverse fixture, but it could well prove enough for them to clinch qualification next week anyway.
Thanks to their much better goal average, Kataja can only miss out on the Last 16 if they suffer a heavy defeat at Krasnye Krylia while Keravnos win by a wide margin at CSU Ploiesti on the final day.
Center Jerald Fields paved the way for Kataja with 19 points and seven rebounds while forward Jermaine Flowers contributed 16 points and eight boards.
On Wednesday night, Krasnye Krylia gifted their fans with a wonderful performance that led to a comfortable 97-72 win over CSU Asesoft Poliesti.
The hosts, who had already clinched qualification, extended their winning streak to five games and saw Andre Smith recovering his previous form.
The power forward returned to action -discreetly- on Saturday in the VTB league game against UNICS Kazan, after a month's absence, but on Wednesday he played for 24 minutes and led the Samara team in scoring, with 16 points.
STANDINGS: Krasnye Krylia 5-0; Joensuun Kataja 3-2; Keravnos Strovolou 2-3; CSU Asesoft Poliesti 0-5.
|Martins Meiers dominated the paint for BK Ventspils in their win over Tampereen Pyrintö|
Another team that remains perfect after five weeks of action in the EuroChallenge is BK Ventspils who delivered one more dominant display on Tuesday night, this time at home against Tampereen Pyrintö.
The Finns needed a win to strengthen their chances of qualifying while the Latvians had already punched their ticket to the Last 16 and did not really have to go the extra mile, but did so anyway.
The hosts prevailed 79-59, even after stepping off the gas in the fourth quarter and allowing Pyrintö to decrease the gap by 10 points in that period.
Arturs Berzins led all scorers with 19 points and fellow Latvian international Martins Meiers contributed 13 points and seven rebounds for the hosts.
Now Pyrintö hope that Ventspils will look to maintain their perfect record for one more week, since they play host to Södertälje Kings on the final day.
The Kings were facing a do-or-die clash with domestic rivals Norrköping Dolphins and not only came out on top, 67-62, but also made up for the two-point loss they had suffered in the reverse fixture.
The Södertälje outfit made the most of their homecourt advantage and took an early ten-point lead, but the Dolphins cut the gap to five in the third quarter.
It is indicative of the nerves on both sides of the Swedish battle that none of the two teams managed to score a single point for almost the first six minutes of the final quarter.
The Dolphins managed to strike first and leveled proceedings at 60-60 with just 1:06 left on the clock, but Toni Bizaca gave some much needed breathing space to the Kings from the free throw line and the hosts held on to claim the win.
The Kings will now earn the right to accompany Ventspils to the next phase if they defeat the Latvians, but in case they lose either Doplhins or Pyrintö have options to take second place in the group.
STANDINGS: BK Ventspils 5-0; Södertälje Kings 2-3; Norrköping Dolphins 2-3; Tampereen Pyrintö 1-4.
|Deven Mitchell and Gaz Metan Medias clinched their spot in the Last 16 |
Gaz Metan Medias clinched qualification in style on Tuesday night, by outscoring Tartu University Rock 81-58 in front of their home fans.
The Romanian side started pulling away in the second quarter and never looked back as the Estonians were running out of ideas against the hosts' aggressive defence.
Power forward Ivan Ivanovic collected a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds and had plenty of support from Aleksandar Mladenovic at both ends of the floor.
The Medias center finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and an eye-popping four blocked shots.
While Tartu were slumping to defeat in Romania, Khimik Yuzhne were registering a victory that gives the upper hand in the race for the second ticket to the Last 16 from the group.
In an engaging encounter that could have gone either way, the Ukrainians kept their calm in the clutch and edged out JDA Dijon 79-74 at home.
Willie Deane and Devoe Joseph combined for 34 points to lead Khimik to this crucial victory, with Deane collecting 12 of his 17 points from the free throw line.
Sava Lesic chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds for the hosts.
The Tuesday result leaves the French side with no options to advance to the next phase.
STANDINGS: Gaz Metan Medias 4-1; BC Khimik Yuzhne 3-2; Tartu University Rock 2-3; JDA Dijon Basket 1-4.
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