|30 January 2012|
EUROCHALLENGE LAST 16
Telekom Baskets coach Michael Koch is stressing the positives for his Bonn players after their brave but losing effort at home to Alba Berlin in a German league thriller over the weekend.
The Bonn club, which on Tuesday plays in the EuroChallenge Last 16 against Okapi Aalstar in Group J, went down in the waning seconds to Alba, 92-91.
Jared Jordan, the spectacular playmaker of Telekom Baskets who is averaging 11.4 points and a EuroChallenge best 9.1 assists, made a runner at the free-throw line for a 91-90 lead just five seconds from the end.
|Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Besiktas Milangaz visit Pardubice, on Wednesday. With a road win they will all but secure a playoffs spot|
But Alba's DeShaun Wood penetrated and scored with a dazzling lay-up just a second from the death for the decisive basket.
Bonn were able to inbound the ball to Chris Ensminger in the lane and their veteran had a good look at the basket but his eight-footer was off target.
"I am very happy with the performance of my team, except for a few moments in the last quarter when we played too wild," Koch said.
"We should build on this game despite the defeat."
Alba coach Gordon Herbert tipped his hat to Telekom Baskets.
"We have a lot of respect for Bonn," he said.
"They have the best transition team in the league and they're very difficult to stop when they get out in the open floor."
Herbert said the most important part of the contest had not been at the end with Wood's game-winner, but rather in the first quarter when his three Germany internationals entered the clash and stopped Bonn's momentum.
"I thought the big key was six to seven minutes into the first quarter when Heiko (Schaffartzik), Lucca Staiger and (33-year-old veteran) Sven Schultze came in," the Alba boss said.
"Bonn dominated the first six, seven minutes and those three guys came into the game and really competed.
Belgians Okapi gave themselves a shot of confidence by scraping a 67-65 victory at Optima Gent with Chris Copeland and Christopher Young pouring in 15 points apiece.
The other Group J game on Tuesday pits Elan Chalon against Szolnoki Olaj.
Steed Tchicamboud and Elan Chalon won't be short of confidence after a strong defensive performance in a 74-67 road win at Strasbourg in the LNB.
Tchicamboud had 15 points.
In Group I, Roanne Basket will attempt to hit back from their defeats at home to BK Ventspils in Europe and to Gravelines-Dunkerque.
With new man Rashad Wright in the line-up over the weekend, Roanne fell 71-66 to Gravelines despite getting 20 points from John Holland.
Roanne recently parted with point guard Andre Barrett, who was averaging 12.1 points and a team-high 5.8 assists.
They will be home to ZZ Leiden, 65-58 winners over Zwolle in the Dutch top flight.
Ventspils are at home to EWE Baskets in the other Group I game.
In EuroChallenge Last 16 Group K, BC NN (0-3) will be at home to Fuenlabrada (3-0) and on Wednesday, BK Pardubice (1-2) will host Besiktas Milangaz (2-1).
Fuenlabrada have been in good form but Real Madrid beat them decisively in the Spanish top flight on Sunday, 79-57.
BC NN fell 84-66 at UNICS Kazan.
In Turkey, Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 18 points and 15 rebounds for Besiktas in a 79-58 victory at Bandirma.
In Group L, Artland Dragons will host Antwerp Giants and Triumph Lyubertsy will visit Pinar Karsiyaka.
David Holston had 28 points and Anthony King and Nathan Peavy 20 apiece as Artland won 95-85 at Phoenix Hagen in Germany.
"I am very glad that we played this game with great focus, began with great determination, a good defense and good fast-break game," said Stefan Koch, the Artland coach.
"This shows that we haven't underestimated Hagen and had the right attitude after beating them at home as well."
Karsiyaka, who are 2-1 in the EuroChallenge Last 16, fell at home to Banvit, 83-70.
Triumph are 0-3 in the Last 16.
They won 75-69 at Krasnye Krylia in the Russia PBL.