BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Robert Dixon did most of the damage for Pinar Karsiyaka, collecting 20 points |
Pinar Karsiyaka improved to 9-2 in the Turkish BEKO Ligi standings with a convincing 83-51 win over Aliaga Petkim at home on Wednesday.
The hosts came out playing their trademark hard-as-nails defence to give up only nine point to their opponents in the first quarter, 20-9, and continued to pull away in the second to reach a 17-point cushion at half-time.
With Karsiyaka then outscoring their visitors 26-13 in the third period to raise the gap to 30 points, the encounter was effectively decided and coach Ufuk Sarica gave playing time to all 12 players on his squad, including 19-year-old Turkish international Onur Çalban.
Robert Dixon was a remarkable 6-for-9 from long range and paced the winners with 20 points while Jon Diebler, who went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, added 15.
Following Fenerbahce Ulker's 74-67 win over Galatasaray Medical Park in the Istanbul derby, Wednesday night found Karsiyaka tied with Banvit and Galatasaray in second place on the table.
Anadolu Efes could join them to make it even more crowded in second spot if they beat defending champions Besiktas on Thursday.
The other Turkish side to compete in the EuroChallenge, Tofas Bursa, were playing host to bottom-of-the-table Antalya BŞB on Wednesday.
Tofas were perhaps not as convincing as Karsiyaka but they still bagged an indispensable, in the race to make the play-off spots, 91-80 victory.
Point guard Steven Burtt was once again a source of inspiration on offence Tofas, leading his team in scoring with 23 points and five assists.
Forward Tomislav Ruzic chipped in with 17 points and seven rebounds.
THREE IN A ROW FOR SZOLNOKI
|Marton Bader and Szolnoki Olaj are on a run after the recent coaching change|
Newly-appointed Szolnoki Olaj head coach Nedeljko Asceric counts his games at the helm of the team in victories, as on Wednesday he led the Hungarian side to their third consecutive success since he took over last week.
Szolnoki defeated KRKA Novo Mesto 72-69 in a dramatic Adriatic (ABA) league encounter at home after overcoming a start that was far from promising.
The Slovenians came out looking the better side to claim an early 26-17 lead and stay up 38-33 at half-time.
KRKA then reinstated the gap to its initial width during the third quarter, to take a 9-point cushion into the fourth period.
But Szolnoki decided to step on the gas in the clutch and outscored their guests 26-14 in the final stanza to clinch their fourth victory in 14 games in the competition.
Center Marton Bader was a rock under the basket and led the hosts with an all-round display of 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Another Hungarian international, Balázs Simon, and Montenegro international Sead Sehovic contributed 13 points apiece.
The Slovenian side, that missed out on the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge after a painful home defeat to Tofas last week, have now slipped to 11th place in the ABA league standings with a 5-9 record.
VENTSPILS MARCH ON
Another day, another victory for BK Ventspils as the Latvian EuroChallenge outfit cruised to a 91-71 success over Jurmala/Fenikss at home in their domestic LBL League on Wednesday night.
Ventspils have now extended their winning streak to 16 games on three different fronts (EuroChallenge, LBL, Baltic League).
The hosts thought it best to make their intentions clear right from tip-off on Wednesday, and scored 35 points in a dreamy first quarter to establish an early 14-point lead.
Whatever hopes of a comeback the visitors might have had were extinguished already before the interval, as the hosts widened the gap to 22 points, 57-35, by half-time.
Ventspils were content with simply preserving the advantage in the second half and sharing playing time among the 10 players on the squad.
Janis Timma and Martins Laksa paced the winners with 16 points each and Sandis Valters added 14.