|12 November 2012|
Pinar Karsiyaka welcome KRKA Novo Mesto on Tuesday in a clash between sides that won their respective opening games in Group A.
The winner will go top of the standings with a 2-0 record regardless of what happens in the other Tuesday encounter of the group, between ETHA Engomi and Tofas Bursa.
Most importantly, and since these two teams are considered the group favourites at this early stage, the side that comes out on top will quite possibly gain an advantage to take first place in the group when it's all done and dusted.
The Tuesday game comes at a good moment for the Turkish hosts, who have claimed two important wins in a row.
On the opening day of the Regular Season last week Karsiyaka took sweet revenge from domestic rivals Tofas Bursa with a 64-63 away victory on a Caner Topaloglu lay-up at the death.
Tofas had inflicted on Karsiyaka their first loss in the Turkish BEKO Ligi in very similar fashion just three days previously.
The Izmir outfit followed up the morale-boosting success with a big win over Euroleague powerhouse Fenerbahce Ulker on Sunday.
Playing at home, they prevailed 72-66 and joined Fener and Banvit in second place in the Turkish league standings.
Not for the first time this season, Karsiyaka were led on the offensive end by Abdul Aminu.
The center hit nine of his 11 shots from two-point range and finished with 18 points and five rebounds.
Jon Diebler had 12 points and Robert Dixon chipped in with nine points and six assists.
KRKA impressed on the opening night of the EuroChallenge as the only of the 32 teams to score in triple digits in the 100-73 rout of Michelin ETHA Engomi.
On Saturday, the Novo Mesto side was once again convincing on offence scoring 64 points in the first 30 minutes of their home clash with Croatian outfit KK Split in the Adriatic League.
The Slovenians held a 13-point lead at the end of the third quarter and despite the notable drop in productivity in the final frame, took a comfortable 79-68 victory.
Edo Muric and Jakov Vladovic led KRKA with 15 points each while Jure Lalic was right behind with 14.
Vladovic also dished out eight assists and big man Uros Lucic corralled 12 of his side's 34 rebounds.
SEASON SO FAR
Karsiyaka have four wins in five games in the BEKO Ligi, a fact that stresses the impact that solitary loss at Tofas must have had on the team.
Aminu is leading the team in both points and rebounds in the league, averaging 15.4 points and 7.4 boards per game.
Dixon leads the BEKO Ligi in assists with 6.4 per game, tied with Daniel Harris Brown of Turk Telekom and is Karsiyaka's second-leading scorer with 14.2 points per contest.
The point guard finished with 17 points in the dramatic Tuesday victory at Tofas.
Another player that came up with a solid performance in the premiere was big guy William Thomas, an old hand in this competition, with 10 points and eight rebounds.
|A seasoned campaigner in the EuroChallenge: William Thomas|
Thomas is in his fifth consecutive EuroChallenge season, having played with Belgacom Liege, Telenet Oostende and Armia in previous years.
He is averaging 11.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in the domestic league.
Fourth place in the Adriatic league is very crowded, to say the least.
Seven teams, half of the league participants, occupy that spot with a 4-4 record and KRKA are one of them.
They have yet to win a game outside of Novo Mesto however, and a win in Izmir would represent an enormous breakthrough for this youthful -and new, as seven players joined in the summer- side.
The Slovenians already reached something of a milestone this week with their offensive output against ETHA and KK Split as they had not scored more than 78 points before and score only 68.4 points on average in the Adriatic League.
In that competition, Muric leads the quite balanced KRKA attack with 11.3 points per contest, Lalic has 10.3, and Jaka Klobucar averages 9.1 per game.
The 21-year-old Muric is also the team's top rebounder with 5.4 boards while former Slovenia international Domen Lorbek dishes out two assists per contest.
Vladovic was KRKA's top performer in their EuroChallenge opener with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists while Muric led all scorers with 20 points.