Ventspils Scrape Narrow Win At Leiden

22.02.2012

EUROCHALLENGE

24. Mamadi Diane (BK Ventspils)
Mamadi Diane fueled BK Ventspils with 18 points and 7 boards in a narrow road triumph

BK Ventspils survived in a EuroChallenge Last 16 nail-biter at ZZ Leiden and won for the third game in a row.

The Latvians, losers of their first two games in this phase of the competition, won 60-57 in Holland to bring an end to the Dutch side's slim hopes of progressing to the Quarter-Finals.

Mamadi Diane had another solid outing for the visitors with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Diane, who began the season with Slovakians SPU Nitra, had poured in 25 points in Ventspils' narrow triumph over Roanne Basket on January 24.

Leiden had won the first meeting between the sides on January 17 in Latvia, 73-69, after hitting back from a 45-22 deficit early in the second half.

Toon Van Helfteren's team had slumped in form, since, falling to EWE Baskets 82-65 and then crashing to a 91-56 defeat to Roanne.

They had to win their final two games just to have a chance of moving into the last eight and on Wednesday night, they had every chance to prevail after getting 13 points from Arvin Slagter, 11 from Thomas Jackson and 10 from Jevohn Shepherd.

Behind 59-53 with 49 seconds to play after Todd Abernethy had made his third free-throw in the space of 20 seconds, Van Helfteren called a timeout to calm his troops down.

When play resumed, Slagter passed to Gabriel Kennedy and the 2.06m forward buried a jump shot to cut the deficit to four.

After Arturs Berzins turned the ball over for Ventspils, Slagter drove in for two points on a fast-break and reduced the arrears to just two points.

Fouled on the play, however, Slagter missed the free-throw and Ventspils rebounded.

Leiden fouled Young with seven seconds to go and the forward made just one of two, leaving the hosts with time to attempt a potential game-tying three-ball.

Shepherd put up a shot from behind the arc that missed the target, though, as Ventspils held on.

Leiden hurt their chances at the free-throw line, making just 11 of 19 in the game.

Ventspils also got 13 points from Steven Gray.

The Latvian club, coached by Gundars Vetra, improved to 3-2 with the victory - the same record as Roanne and EWE Baskets.

If Ventspils win at home next week against Roanne, the victory will clinch a spot in the Quarter-Finals.

Leiden are now 1-4 in the Last 16 and will finish their EuroChallenge campaign next week with a game at home against EWE Baskets.


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