The four fixtures on tap in Groups I and J in EuroChallenge Last 16 Week 2 action were equally split between hosts and visitors, as two went to the team with the home-court advantage and two finished with important road wins.
|William Thomas had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds for Pinar Karsiyaka|
The Latvian outfit has now accumulated three losses in all competitions in the space of just 10 days, while up until this point and since the start the season, they had only been defeated once.
None the less, they did almost everything well on Tuesday and if they were not facing a team like Karsiyaka, they would most probably have stopped this slide at its very beginning.
The Latvians scored 81 points against the Turkish side, something no other team has achieved (in regulation) this season, either in Europe or domestically.
They held their own in a back-and-forth encounter and did not allow Karsiyaka, who have an excellent track record in many a hostile arena in the Turkish BEKO Ligi, to pull away when they took a slim lead in the first quarter.
But when the hosts led by two points late in the final frame, the visitors had all the answers, and the players to implement them.
It took Gaz Metan Medias four possessions to score their first points against Joensuun Kataja on Tuesday, but once center Zoran Krstanovic made his first jump shot, the hosts seemed all of a sudden to be brimming with confidence.
The Romanians hardly put a foot wrong in the remaining eight minutes of the first quarter, to lead 25-16 at the first buzzer and then further increase the gap to 36-19 midway through the second period.
The Finnish side however used an 8-2 run to reduce the deficit somewhat and trail 45-32 at the interval, and then cut the gap to just six points, 49-43, on back-to-back three-pointers by Daniel Coleman and Antti Kanervo.
Medias entered the final frame leading only by three, 62-59, and Kataja reached within one point at the start of the final stanza and then levelled the scores at 76-76 with 2:06 left on the clock.
One more trey by Kanervo gave the Finns the lead for the first time since the opening minute, 80-81, but on the next possession the sharp-shooter split two free throws and Kyle Shiloh made a big shot, with just nine seconds left, to give an 83-82 lead to the hosts before an Ivan Lilov free throw wrote the final 84-82.
Lilov led all Medias scorers with 19 points while Shiloh contributed 17 points and five rebounds.
|Ludovic Vaty led the way for Gravelines with 22 points|
If someone had offered a one-point win on a buzzer-beater to either of the two opponents ahead of Tuesday's all-French clash in Group J, both BCM Gravelines Dunkerque and Paris Levallois would have replied 'where do we sign?'.
As it played out though, the winners were left with the impression that they should have done more and the losers thinking that it was not all that bad.
BCM took their compatriots by storm in the third quarter, outscored them 28-9 in that period and increased their lead to 21 points with just over four minutes left to the final buzzer.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, thought the visitors, who were shooting below 40 percent from the floor at that point, and they took something out of each single one of their possessions until the end, including four long-range three-pointers.
They finished on a 19-5 run that did not prevent BCM from claiming victory, but left the final score at 82-77, when it could have been a demoralising thrashing.
Szolnoki Olaj gave it their all in their Last 16 opener last week, to defeat BCM 75-71. So much so, that they looked tired in the second half in their next home game, four days later in the Adriatic League, and succumbed to a 78-66 defeat to Radnicki.
So when Hapoel Unet Holon came out looking all chirpy and led 26-17 at the first buzzer, the obvious hypothesis was that Szolnoki had already run out of steam and the home fans were in for an entertaining night.
But it was the wrong hypothesis. Marton Bader took one look around and decided he would pick up anything that falls from the sky, and fellow Hungarian international Akos Horvath realised he had the hot hand on the night.
The center was rock-solid in the paint, Horvath went 6-for-10 from behind the three-point arc and Szolnoki slowly but surely started chipping away at the lead, to level proceedings and go up front for the first time, on a Rashad Bell trey, at the start of the fourth quarter.
They continued their methodical rise to gradually pull away, much to the disbelief of the stunned hosts, and held on for a valuable 77-72 win on the road.
Bader collected a double-double of 14 points and 19 rebounds, while Horvath led all Szolnoki scorers with 20 points.
Jerome Dyson had 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists in defeat.