The second week of action in the EuroChallenge Last 16 proved an excellent time to travel, as three of the visiting sides in the four encounters in Groups K and L returned home with a victory in their luggage.
|Joakim Kjellbom has played a significant role since joining the Dolphins over the winter break|
In principal, any coach whose team is out-rebounded at home, 35-23, while playing against an opponent as good as Tofas Bursa, would be worried.
If, in addition to this, his five starters combine for 83 percent of the team's offensive output and there is not much contribution from the bench, he would probably be terrified.
Norrköping Dolphins' head coach Paul Burke though said on Tuesday that it was 'big for a team in Sweden to get a win like this,' after his side's 84-82 success over Tofas, and added he was a very pleased man.
The fact he has under his orders three Swedish and one Latvian international that know when it's time for them to step up, sure helps a lot in that direction.
The Turkish side showed their quality in the second quarter, when they scored 28 points to go into the interval with a three-point advantage, but those four experienced players have fought many a tight battle at international level in their careers.
Propelled by their star players, the Dolphins came back to outscore their guests 19-12 in the third quarter and then kept their composure when Tofas went up 82-80 with just 25 seconds on the clock.
An ice-cool Mikael Lindqvist sunk two free throws at the death to give the Dolphins a famous 84-82 victory over an opponent that comes from one of the best leagues in Europe.
Lindqvist led all scorers with 21 points on 63.5 percent shooting from the floor, Christian Maraker finished with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists, Joakim Kjellbom chipped in with 13 points while Edgars Jeromanovs added 10 points and five assists for the winners.
Khimik tried their best on Tuesday to please their fans.
They passed the ball around on offence (15 assists), they put in an enormous effort on defence (eight blocks), but they could not bend the will of a team that is in such good form right now.
Krasnye Krylia forced their hosts to shoot a mere 37 percent from the floor and were always one step ahead, leading 42-37 at half-time.
They pulled away in the third quarter to stretch the gap to 62-48 and even when the Ukrainian side fought tooth and nail to come back in the final frame, they stayed always in control and held off the charge.
The Russian side rode out 77-69 winners to add one more success to their EuroChallenge campaign, their eighth in as many games since the start of the Regular Season.
|Derek Raivio had a game-high 25 points for Okapi Aalstar|
Any fan who pays his hard-earned cash to attend a game, does so in the hope that he will see his team win.
The 3,000 Tsmoki-Minsk fans who watched their team's loss to Okapi Aalstar on Wednesday night did not get that, but they could hardly complain they did not get their money's worth out of a game that went into double overtime and could have swung either way during the last two minutes of regulation or during either of the two extra periods.
In a game of runs, Aalstar came back from ten points down at the start of the fourth quarter to tie the scores at 69-69 with two minutes left, and the end of regulation found the two teams tied at 73-73.
Christopher Young made two free throws one second from the end of first overtime to tie the scores again at 81 and the desperation shot by Aliaksandr Pustahvar did not drop in, so the two teams headed into second overtime.
The hosts went up 85-81, but at that point their legs started abandoning them while the Belgians kept going and used a 10-2 run to edge them out, 91-87.
The tireless Derek Raivio was immense for the visitors, as he not only propelled Aalstar into the comeback that forced overtime, but also made key shots later to ensure they would outlast Minsk.
The point guard stayed on the court for 46 minutes and finished with 25 points, three assists and three steals.
He had plenty of support from shooting guard Larry Anderson, who contributed 16 points and eight rebounds.
"You can not allow someone to come to your home arena and beat you the way Oldenburg did today," Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach Michael Koch said after his team's loss to fellow German side EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Wednesday.
He was referring to the second half of the encounter, that left Koch, and the 4,300-strong local crowd, wondering whether they had been watching a different game for the first 20 minutes.
The hosts looked determined and tough-as-nails on defence in the first half, and held a 33-31 advantage at half-time.
An unrecognisable team returned to the court after the interval, one that almost watched from the sidelines as the visitors dominated every facet of the game to score 34 points and give up only 16.
Bonn snapped out of the shock in the final frame, but there was little they could do by then and Oldenburg, who had even stretched the gap to 23 points at some point, comfortably held on to the lead until the final buzzer to claim an 82-65 victory.