BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Semen Antonov is following up an impressive EuroBasket with good performances for BC NN|
BC NN had better not be taken lightly in this season's EuroChallenge.
The Russian outfit didn't make much headway in the competition last season but they raised eyebrows over the weekend with a 92-86 victory over Zalgiris Kaunas in the VTB United League.
In their game before, Zoran Lukic's side had beaten Lokomotiv Kuban in the Russian PBL.
Against Zalgiris, a team that plays in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague but one that is in a mini-crisis following the sacking of coach Ilias Zouros, BC NN got 24 points from Semen Antonov - a young member of Russia's national team that captured bronze at the EuroBasket.
Antonov has a powerful body and can score in the paint, but he showed a deft shooting touch from long range against Zalgiris, burying four of eight three-pointers.
He also had six rebounds and five assists.
Michal Ignerski and Nemanja Protic each had 17 points.
"Because all of the guys helped each other and played quite relaxed, we were able to win," Antonov said.
Zoric knows it is a very long season and that too much should not be read into just one game.
"This achievement still needs to be confirmed in the next game with Spartak-Primorye in the BEKO PBL," he said.
"This is the first serious test for my team.
"If we lose this game, a win over Zalgiris to me means nothing."
Fellow Russians BC Enisey also faced Lithuanian opposition in the VTB United League but slipped up, 82-75, to Lietuvos Rytas.
BC Triumph, meanwhile, took on the might of CSKA Moscow and lost 73-68 after being outscored 20-11 in the fourth quarter.
|Youngster Sergey Karasev and BC Triumph fought hard but had to settle for the loss against CSKA|
Leading 60-53 with 8:59 to go in the game, Triumph caved in as a Nenad Krstic basket sparked a 13-0 run that put CSKA in front to stay.
Valdemaras Chomicius, the Triumph coach, was nevertheless proud of his players as they pushed one of the giants in Europe to the limit.
He said: "I want to congratulate my players who played today with dignity, were able to contain the onslaught of imminent and experienced players and did not take a back seat to them. In some moments we lacked a little determination, and in some - calm composure.
"After the game, I told the players, 'Despite the result, today you are the winners.'
"Now the main thing - to continue working in this direction, and if we play like today - we will develop and move forward."
Tywain McKee had had 15 points in defeat.
In the Baltic League, EuroChallenge outfit Ventspils went down 78-77 to Rudupis.
Bojan Bakic had 17 points in defeat.
BK Pardubice and BK Prostejov are EuroChallenge sides from the Czech Republic.
The former won 79-68 over Ostrava but Prostejov were hammered 88-71 by CEZ Nymburk.
Fuenlabrada put up a brave fight in Spain's Liga Endesa but fell to European juggernauts Regal Barcelona, 66-56.
A crowd of 5,544 was on hand to watch the Madrid club battle Barca and Leo Mainoldi had 14 points in defeat.
Juan Carlos Navarro, the EuroBasket 2011 MVP, poured in 21 points for Barcelona.