|31 January 2012|
Ventspils could have checked out mentally after their 17th January horror show against ZZ Leiden, when the Latvian team blew a 23-point lead and lost the EuroChallenge Last 16 game.
The collapse dropped the Latvian outfit to 0-2 in Group I since they had fallen in their first encounter at EWE Baskets, 77-69.
Gundars Vetra's side rebounded, however, with an 89-88 win at Roanne Basket seven days ago.
"We lost our first two matches in the Last 16, so it was a very important game for us," said Ventspils's Mamadi Diane.
"It was hard to win away against the leader of the group on the road, so we can be proud of ourselves."
That game was important, and so is Tuesday night's showdown with EWE Baskets.
To maintain a realistic shot of advancing, Ventspils needs to get back to .500.
They do not want be 1-3 heading into their last two games.
EWE Baskets should be tough opponents.
They were unbeaten in the EuroChallenge until the defeat to Roanne on 17 January. The Germans hit back last week with an 85-62 drubbing of Leiden.
SEASON SO FAR
• BK Ventspils have been on a roller-coaster in Europe. They went into a Eurocup Qualifying Round tie with Azovmash and won the home leg, 75-74, when Jahmar Young hit a three-pointer at the death. But in Ukraine, Azovmash prevailed 79-65 and moved on in the competition. Ventspils ended up in the EuroChallenge and suffered a setback against Khimik in their first game but then reeled off four consecutive victories to punch their ticket to Last 16. They are 1-2 in Group I heading into the clash with EWE Baskets.
• EWE Baskets have won eight of their nine games in the EuroChallenge, including two victories over Spanish Liga Endesa outfit Fuenlabrada in the Regular Season. The German team is seventh in Germany's BEKO BBL with 10 victories and eight defeats.
THE HOT HAND
• Ventspils got a stunning 25-point contribution from Mamadi Diane in their victory at Roanne. Diane began the EuroChallenge campaign with Nitra but left the Slovakian team after its failure to advance from the Regular Season.
• EWE Baskets guard Kenneth Hasbrouck has drilled 11 of his last 22 shots from behind the arc in his last four EuroChallenge games. During that span, he has averaged 18 points.
• Jahmar Young scored 16 points in the first meeting with EWE Baskets but was just five of 13 from the floor. He was also five of 13 in the defeat to Leiden and only two of six from the field last week against Roanne.
• Point guard Robert Brown is averaging 13.3 points in the EuroChallenge but scored only five in two of his last three games, including the victory over Ventspils. Brown was one of 10 from the floor in last week's victory over Leiden.
Ventspils's Martins Meiers v EWE Baskets Ronald Burrell in a battle of the big men.