By The Numbers: Four Teams, Four Countries

31 March 2010

Yarone Arbel To say Yarone Arbel likes basketball would be an understatement of epic proportions. He eats, sleeps and breathes it and gives his EuroChallenge impressions every week in By The Numbers.

The stage is set for the 2010 EuroChallenge Final Four as Roanne Basket, Scavolini Pesaro ,BG Gottingen and Krasnye Krylia paved their way to the grand performance of the season.

Four teams from four different countries will fight for the crown held by Virtus Bologna.

Just like in 2009 the Final Four will host teams from France, Russia and Italy while Germany is the new member taking the place of Cyprus. Right before that, here's one last look at the quarter-final pairs which ended with four 2-0 wins as three teams who held the home court advantage won game 2 on the road, and one team made the opposite task.

0 Defense: Apoel Nicosia wasn't the worst defensive team in the EuroChallenge, not even among the 8 teams who marched into the quarter-finals, but in the two games against Roanne Basket, that side of the game wasn't present. The French team scored 89 in Game 1 behind 69.4% from two-point and just a bit below 40% from the arc. In Game 2 Roanne dropped to "only" 84 points and still in very high accuracy of 60% inside the arc and almost 41% beyond it.

15. Luis Flores (Krasnye Krylia)
Luis Flores outstanding performance in game 2 against KK Zagreb won him the Quarter-FinalsPlayer of the Week award

35 sweets: Luis Flores of Krasnye Krylia is one of the best shooters in the competition, but he kept his best performance of the season to the right moment. He delivered 35 points, one point short of the best scoring show in the EuroChallenge, in the 79-78 victory over KK Zagreb, which sent his team to the Final Four. Flores is even written on the winning play which showed just how much of a winner he is. Down by 1 Krasnye went for Ernest Bremer to win the game, but his shot went out. Flores was first on the offensive rebound and kicked the ball out for another Bremer attempt. Once again the ball went out but Flores was there once more to grab the ball and this time faced the heat, and released the game winning shot.

1 half is enough: 6 games went by the half time leader other than the KK Zagreb one. All four quarter-finals pairs were decided in a 2-0 sweep, and the one sided pattern was kept throughout three of them. In 6 of the 8 games the team to lead at half time, also won the game and eventually the Final Four ticket, and all these games took places in three of the pairs. The only series where things were balanced, was between KK Zagreb and Krasnye Krylia, but still the outcome was a 2-0 win for the Russian side.

24 & 25: Taylor Rochestie of BC Gottingen played a key role in the great run of his team throughout the entire season, but made a huge step up in the quarter-finals against BC FMP. In game 1 he wrote a season high of 24 points with 6 rebounds to protect the home court advantage, while in Game 2 he bettered his season high from the previous game by one point, and net 25 points to write two stellar performance just in the right time.

5 points in 5 minutes of 2 games: FMP lost both games to Gottingen but wasn't too far from winning both. The first game saw the German side win 75-69 and in Belgrade the final score wasn't that much different with a 71-76 result. In both cases the last two minutes of the game decided it, when FMP lost their coolness. In Game 1 FMP scored only 2 points in the last 2:23 minutes, and that was the last basket of the game that didn't matter a thing, after a 7-0 local run, while in Game 2 FMP scored only 3 points in the last 2:29 minutes, to see a tied score break into a a 3-8 run to decide the game and the series.

14. Luka Zoric (KK Zagreb)
Luka Zoric saw his team go out of the competition despite having home court advantage

18 in 33, 0 in 7: Luka Zoric of KK Zagreb kept his best performance of the season to his team's mostimportant one, when they traveled to Russia for Game 2, to save the season. Zoric finished the game with his third double-double of the season, and the most impressive one, with 18 points and 14 rebounds, yet he went missing in action when things mattered most. Zoric collected all of his 18 points until the 33rd minute and didn't add a single point in the deciding quarter. Actually Zoric, who took more shots than any other player on his team, made only one attempt to score in the last 7 minutes, and that was the shot to win the game right before the buzzer. He missed, and Zagreb finished the season after a great campaign.

6 in 11 vs. 1 in 7: Ernest Bremer most leathal weapon on court is his three point shooting. In 11 EuroChallenge games he took 72 shots from the arc compared to only 31 from two-point range and just 24 walks to the foul line. In the series against KK Zagreb he showed the two sides of a one dimensional shooter. In the first game he connected 6 times in 11 attempts, to write his second best shooting performance of the season and lead his team to a big road in. In the second game Bremer reached just 1 made three point shot in 7 attempts, for his 2nd worst shooting performance of the season, which almost cost his team the game.

5 in 1st, 8 in 3rd: Scavolini Pesaro wrote two one-sided wins against Antwerp Giants and the first was decided mostly by the steals. The hosts stole no less than 19 balls in the game, which is a season high for a team, 5 times more than the runner-up. Already in the first quarter came 5 steals, which put the locals on a 28-15 lead after 10 minutes. Antwerp maintained the gap till the break, but when Scavolini added 8 more steals in the third quarter the difference jumped above the 20 point barrier and decided the game.

19 more rebounds, 15 less points: As mentioned Antwerp's losses were the most one sided in the four pairs, but if the 19 steals were in favour of Scavolini in Game 1, came Game 2 and showed exactly how big are the gaps between the teams. Antwerp managed to out-rebound their opponents 40-21, including 12 offensive rebounds, yet still reached no more than 63 points and lost at home by 15.

16, 11.5, 1.5: The roster moves you make during the season can change the course of the whole season, and Frasnye Krylia deserve a tap or two on each shoulder for a move that probably made the difference for their EuroChallenge run. Marcus Douthit, a 208 American center, joined the team in mid-season and after a slow start found his place on the team and started to deliver. In the last 6 games he scored in double-digits, and in the series against Zagreb he brought in great efficiency and stability. Douthit wrote 16 points on each night and added 15 rebounds with 2 blocks on the first game, when his team wrote the big road win in Zagreb, before making 8 rebounds and a single block in game 2. His quarter-finals averages stand on 16 ppg, 11.5 rpg and 1.5 bpg, to be a strong contender to win the unofficial "Best mid-season signing" award.

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