|05 December 2013|
| Michael Davis and BC Kyiv have become one of the first clubs to know their EuroChallenge campaign will not continue into the new year. |
Triumph Lyubertsy picked up a fourth consecutive win in Group D of the EuroChallenge Regular Season this week and became the first team to secure their passage to the Last 16 of the competition.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Ukrainians of BC Kyiv in the same group and the Hungarians of Fortress Jaszberenyi in Group F suffered a fourth loss in a row and were knocked out of the race for a spot in the next phase.
Of course, there were also plenty of other stories to come out of week 5 which we run through for you, as we prepare for the remaining two Regular Season game days.
Keep An Eye On:
"Our young players played particularly well, especially [Ojars] Silins, who's only 20 years old," said Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia head coach Massimiliano Menetti after his team's 78-71 victory over Okapi Aalstar on the road in Group E action. When midway through the fourth quarter the Italian side looked like they were going to throw away a 13-point lead, Silins, together with teammate Ariel Filloy, came up with big plays to dig them out of a hole and propel them to their first win away from home this season. The Latvian forward, who went three-of-five from beyond the three-point arc in Belgium, scored five of his season-high 13 points in the final 124 seconds of the clash. "My contribution to the team so far has mainly been on the defensive end, so I am very pleased with my offensive performance tonight," the clutch youngster admitted.
Blast From The Past:
|At 35, Serkan Erdogan is still roughing with players nearly half his age - and coming out on top|
It is a sad but undeniable fact that the day the now 35-year-old Serkan Erdogan retires from action and his silky-smooth shooting style turns into a distant memory is drawing closer. The former Turkish international might not be as sharp as he was at the height of his career, but he can still bury the big shots and provide a reliable pair of hands from the free-throw line, as he has showed particularly in the BEKO TBL this season. Erdogan had 12 points, five assists and two steals to help Royal Hali Gaziantep beat Krasnye Krylia 71-63 on Tuesday, their second win over the EuroChallenge defending champions in Group B. Erdogan's field goal percentage is likely to rise from the current 35.5% in the remainder of the season as with the recent addition of Slovenian international Domen Lorbek to the Gaziantep roster, the Turkish shooting guard can now afford to spend less time on the court (he has averaged 28 minutes of playing time) and fine-tune his shots without fatigue taking its toll on him.
Stat Of The Week:
|Goran Martinic of BC Mures returned with a bang following injury, scoring 27 points, albeit in a losing effort|
It is a figure rather than a stat, but Goran Martinic's 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting from the floor in the clash between BC Mures and Tsmoki Minsk in Group H has made every other number pale by comparison in Week 5 action. While it's true that the Montenegrin point guard's display did not prove enough for his team to avoid defeat at the hands of their Belarusian guests, the ease with which Martinic has connected with the basket when playing against Minsk is hard to ignore. He dropped 31 points in the reverse fixture in Minsk in early November, got injured, was sidelined for almost a month and upon his return he re-claimed top spot on the EuroChallenge leading scorers table.
Surprise Of The Week:
Tartu University Rock were on the wrong end of a remarkable come-from-behind 66-65 triumph by BK Ventspils on the opening game of Group C in November. On Tuesday, the Estonian side travelled to neighbouring Latvia for the reverse fixture with a 1-2 record, to take on a Ventspils side that had gone on in the meantime to win two more games and stand at the top of the group on an unbeaten streak. Tartu trailed their hosts by eight points early on, but then decided that they could reverse what seemed to be an inevitable scenario and took Ventspils by storm in the two middle quarters to pick up a fantastic 81-63 victory and put an end to their opponents' perfect record. Tanel Kurbas and Vincent Simpson, with 16 points apiece, were the main culprits behind the biggest surprise of Week 5.
Hitting The Headlines:
|Are Jeremy Chappell and Triumph Lyubertsy the Krasnye Krylia of 2013/14?|
While it is extremely premature to predict that Triumph Lyubertsy are the Krasnye Krylia of 2014 and that they will go on to emulate last year's unbeaten run to the EuroChallenge title of their fellow Russian club, coach Vasily Karasev and his players have every right to enjoy riding the wave for as long as it lasts. Triumph stand as the only undefeated team in the competition after picking up their fourth win in as many games on Tuesday, 80-70 at Inkognito Fashion Körmend. When the Moscow Region side started their 2013/14 campaign on two losses, both in VTB League action, Karasev declared that his team were really missing (the then injured) Kyle Landry and things would improve once the Canadian center returned to action. Many dismissed the statement as an excuse at the time, but Triumph went on to win seven of their next nine games across the EuroChallenge and the VTB League. Landry picked up 13 points and 11 rebounds in Hungary on Tuesday, in what was the third double-double display of the 27-year-old big man in four games in the EuroChallenge this season.
Quote Of The Week:
"This was an off-day for us. We were constantly behind the curve. Apparently we cannot compete in two games a week," said JDA Dijon head coach Jean-Louis Borg after his team fell 81-59 at Port of Antwerp Giants.