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Barons Rocky Road To Cyprus

09 April 2008

Barons Riga made it to the EuroCup Final Four but it was, most of the club's fans would say, more exciting than it should have been.

A young KK Zagreb team pushed Barons to the limit in their quarter-final tie but the Riga team edged a 96-91 encounter in the decider to reach the Promised Land.

That's right, 96 points!

Demetrius Darnell Alexander (Barons LMT )
Demetrius Alexander has been one of Barons most consistent performers.
But believe it or not, Barons' scoring average in the EuroCup of 78.3 points is the lowest of all the teams taking part. That includes Final Four opponents Tartu Rock, who will arrive in Limassol with an average of 79.9.

The Final Four is where Barons coach Karlis Muiznieks would have expected his team to be, though, judging from the talent in his side.

The signature players in this team are his towering 2.04m forward Demetrius Alexander, the squad's leading scorer (15.7pts avg) and rebounder (8.1), along with guards Armands Skele and Giedrus Gustas.

St Louis native Alexander, a member of the Rest of the World team at the EuroCup All Star Game, has quite a pedigree.

Everyone suspected he was going to have a solid pro career back in 1994, when he was voted Missouri High School Player of the year.

He has played for numerous clubs, with his last stop before Riga in Spain's powerful ACB with Sevilla's Cajasol.

Five times this season, Alexander had double-doubles in points and rebounds - number one in the EuroCup.

Skele, the explosive guard who played for Muiznieks at last year's EuroBasket with Latvia's national team, averaged 14.8 points in the EuroCup while Gustas, a starter for Lithuania at the 2006 FIBA World Championship, scored a clip of 14.5.

Barons beat Tartu Rock in their encounters in the Baltic League this season and would seem to have the edge purely on that basis.

But just how good Barons are, no one really knows.

They won their Qualifying Round Group on a second tie-break with Khimik.

Each team won a game against the other by six points, and it was a superior points differential in all of their contests in the pool which in the end lifted Barons to first place.

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