|27 February 2012|
|Click to watch the battle for the top spot in EuroChallenge Group K LIVE and for free on FIBA Europe TV|
Tip-off is Tuesday at 19:00 CET
Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada and Besiktas Milangaz have been among the best sides in the EuroChallenge all season long.
Now the two sides will meet in a glitzy Group K supremacy battle in the Last 16 on Tuesday night in Istanbul.
The Spanish club edged the first encounter, 72-70, on 24 January and remain the only unbeaten outfit in this phase of the competition while that defeat for Besiktas has been their only setback of the entire season in the EuroChallenge.
Michael Hall, with 20 seconds to go in the contest and the shot-clock winding down, buried a go-ahead three-pointer for Fuenlabrada and then Carlos Arroyo missed at the buzzer for Besiktas.
Immediately after the contest, Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman warned: "See you in Istanbul.
"We are going to recover the two points that we lost today and we will end as group leaders."
SEASON SO FAR
Both teams have had memorable seasons and not just in Europe. Besiktas celebrated one of the finest moments in club history a couple of weekends ago by winning the Turkish Cup.
They knocked off Galatasaray in the Semi-Final and then downed Banvit in the title game.
Ataman's team boasted after that more trophies were coming.
Despite their 86-82 defeat at Fenerbahce over the weekend, Besiktas find themselves top of the BEKO Basketbol Ligi standings with 14 wins and five losses (Galatasaray and Anadolu Efes though, who are also on 33 points, have a game in hand).
Fuenlabrada, who played in the Copa del Rey last weekend but lost to eventual winners Real Madrid in their opening game, crashed to an 86-59 defeat at Barcelona on Sunday.
Both Fuenlabrada and Besiktas had Quarter-Final spots in the EuroChallenge secured with two game days remaining.
Besiktas began this season attempting to reach the Eurocup but lost over two legs to Dexia Mons-Hainaut in the Qualifying Round.
THE HOT HAND
Pops Mensah-Bonsu poured in 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in last week's 82-80 win over BC NN as Besiktas improved to 4-1 in the Last 16.
In the previous EuroChallenge game against BK Pardubice, the Great Britain international had 12 points and 12 boards.
Leonardo Mainoldi made all three of his shots from long range and finished with 18 points and was seven of eight from the floor overall in Fuenlabrada's 85-70 victory over Pardubice last time out.
The Argentinian is shooting a scalding 48.1% (13 of 27) from behind the arc in the EuroChallenge.
Adrian Laso, 21, has greatly benefitted by the EuroChallenge because Fuenlabrada coach Porfirio Fisac has used the competition to get the 2.05m center experience.
Last week, he had a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds.
Adam Morrison began the campaign well with Fuenlabrada but in 25 minutes against BC NN last week, the 27-year-old scoring machine was zero of five from the field and failed to register a point.
In the previous game against Pardubice, Morrison had 26 points.
Arroyo is the floor general of Besiktas and will go up against Fuenlabrada's promising point guard, Joaquin Colom.
Arroyo, 32, who replaced Deron Williams in the line-up after the American returned to the New Jersey Nets following the NBA lockout, is averaging 11.8 points and 3.3 assists in the EuroChallenge.
The steady 23-year-old Colom has more modest numbers of 5.2 points and 3.8 assists and will have to be at his best against Arroyo to give Fuenlabrada their best chance of winning.