By Jeff Taylor
|Souleymane Diabate is back wearing a Roanne shirt|
It's been a week of upheaval for two of the three French clubs playing in the EuroChallenge.
Pau Lacq Orthez and Chorale Roanne made coaching changes, and important decisions regarding player personnel.
On Monday, Orthez parted with players Mustafadeen Shakur and Moustapha Diarra, and also showed coach Didier Dobbels the door.
The club handed the reins to Laurent Vila.
The first outing for Vila almost proved successful.
At home against Keravnos on Tuesday, Pau trailed by eight with 1:28 remaining and fought back to knot the contest at 83-83 on a pair of Teddy Gipson free-throws.
After Marcus Moore made two at the stripe to put the Cypriot club back in front, the French team got the ball to Gipson but his jumper that would have forced overtime was off target.
Roanne, meanwhile, were able to overcome their adversity and win at home against BC Goverla.
The club, following a board meeting on Monday night, removed Jean Denys Choulet as coach.
The man who led the team to an 81-78 EuroChallenge victory over Goverla was instead Choulet's assistant, Frederic Brouillaud.
Afterward, Roanne president Emmanuel Brochot announced that interim coach Brouillaud would be in charge on Saturday when Roanne, who are 1-1 in the EuroChallenge and 3-3 in France's Pro A, host Dijon.
He also said Brouillaud would guide the team in Tuesday's EuroChallenge game at BK Prostejov.
On Wednesday afternoon, it emerged that former Alba Berlin boss Luka Pavicevic was to be installed as the new head coach of Roanne.
Roanne have yet to make an official confirmation to the media on Pavicevic, a Montenegrin, but according to leprogres.fr, Pavicevic will arrive at the club next week.
Another decision Roanne have taken is to lift the Choulet-imposed, three-week suspension of Souleymane Diabaté, the 24-year-old guard of the Ivory Coast.
"He returned to the group because it has been determined that we need him," Brochot said.
Roanne are 3-3 in France's Pro A and 1-1 in the EuroChallenge while Pau are 1-5 in France and riding a five-game losing streak. They are 0-2 in the EuroChallenge.
Wins are not always enough to satisfy a coach in the EuroChallenge and there is a very good reason for that.
Coaches know that that progressing to the next stage of the competition often comes down to goal differential tie-breakers.
|Ivan Paunic and BC NN let a big lead slip towards the end f their encounter with Khimik|
In other words, if two teams have the same records at the end of the Regular Season and split their two encounters, it's the team with the superior goal differential in those meetings that will finish higher in the standings.
Sometimes goal differential tie-breakers are used in three-way ties.
That's why BC NN coach Zoran Lukic wasn't jumping for joy after his team's 85-73 Group D victory over Khimik.
With 2:30 remaining in the third quarter, the Russian side led 61-44 and Lukic had visions of a blowout triumph.
Instead, Khimik were able to reduce that deficit to 12 by the end of the contest.
"Unfortunately, my players didn't do all the things that they were told to do and they lost their chance to score some additional points," Lukic said.
"We lost our concentration at the end of the game.
"We could have built a lead of 15 to 20 points, but it didn't happen."
Group D is wide open because Khimik, BC NN, BK Ventspils and Atomerömü SE all have 1-1 records.
Artland Dragons also missed the opportunity to claim a huge win against Szolnoki Olaj.
With 3:15 left in the third quarter, the German club had a 62-45 lead, yet ended up winning by just eight points.
"It's still a loss, but it feels better that it is only by eight points," Szolnoki big man Marton Bader said.
The Minsk Miracle
BC "Minsk-2006" raised eyebrows in their opening EuroChallenge game when, despite being on a losing streak in the VTB United League, they won at home over Telekom Baskets Bonn.
The men from Belarus did it again this week, only this time on the road at Pinar Karsiyaka.
Aliaksandr Kudrautsau, the hero of the victory over Bonn, poured in 22 points at Karsiyaka - a place where six of seven opponents bit the dust in last season's EuroChallenge.
Another Jahmar Beauty
Jahmar Young didn't finish in the top 15 of the EuroChallenge Player of the Week rankings, but he still had an outstanding performance for BK Ventspils in their 69-56 win over visiting Atomerömü SE.
The 25-year-old small forward had 23 points, five rebounds and six steals as the Latvian team improved to 1-1.
Young earlier this season announced his arrival at the club in grand style, pouring in 28 points and coming up with three steals in a 75-74 win over Azovmash in the home leg of a Eurocup Qualifying Round tie.
In that game, his fourth three-pointer came at the buzzer.
Azovmash broke open a tight second leg in the fourth quarter and won by 14 to advance.
On a Roll
Michael Roll is proving to be quite a marksman for Antwerp Giants.
The 23-year-old Antwerp Giants shooting guard/small forward followed up his 27-point performance in a Week 1 defeat to BC Enisey with 24 in Tuesday's 87-63 blowout of CSU Mobitelco.
Roll has thus far made 72.4% of his shots from the field.
From three-point range, he is five of seven (71.4%) on the season.
No one back in his home state of California will be surprised.
As a high school player, he was the CIF Southern Section Div. 1 Wooden Award recipient and Roll went on to play where the legendary John Wooden coached, at UCLA.
No one in the Fuenlabrada team needs to be told that EWE Baskets sharpshooter Ricky Paulding can hit three-pointers.
He buried six of seven on the night, including five in the fourth quarter, as the Oldenburg team beat the visitors from Spain, 85-66.
Paulding knows there are going to be nights when everything seems to go in, and others when nothing will fall.
One constant, therefore, has to be the defense.
"When you play strong defense like we did today (Tuesday), it makes everything on the offensive side so much easier," he said.
"I'm happy about my 24 points, but it was all thanks to my teammates who continually found me when I was open."
Elan Chalon also have a player that made shot after shot from behind the arc this week.
Ilian Evtimov buried six of nine in an 87-79 victory over BC Enisey.
Evtimov, who is in the French national team set-up, played at the EuroCup Final Four in Girona for Virtus Bologna in 2007.