|25 November 2013|
|The extended loss of Derek Raivio is a massive blow for Okapi Aalstar|
Okapi Aalstar were on the wrong end of the most surprising result in the Belgian Ethias League so far this season, but that was by no means the biggest shock the EuroChallenge Group E participants received at the weekend.
The day after the Aalst side slumped to an 80-78 loss at home to Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek, a team that had previously registered eight defeats in as many games, news came in that Derek Raivio will be out of action for up to two months.
The point guard did not play any part in the loss to Willebroek as he had sustained an injury and the medical exams at the weekend showed he has fractured a bone in his heel.
Raivio is the leading scorer of the Ethias league and is also ranked as the championship's top player in terms of efficiency, as he averages 19.9 points, 4.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
In the EuroChallenge, the 29-year-old sharp-shooter has contributed 17.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists on average in the three games that Okapi have played so far in the Regular Season.
Without the likes of Raivio or Christopher Young, who also had to sit out the game, Okapi were outscored 28-12 in the second quarter, trailed 46-33 at half-time and their comeback attempt at the end fell short.
Center Ioana Tofi picked up 22 points and seven rebounds and Da'Sean Butler finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists in a losing effort.
"The game in Finland [against Team TEHO Sport Kotka in the EuroChallenge] was tiring, but it it should not be an excuse," Okapi head coach Brad Dean said.
"I am not satisfied with the energy we showed, we piled on the turnovers and only came close in the final quarter.
"We now have a week to learn to play without Raivio."
While Okapi have now dropped to 5-4 in the Ethias League standings, fellow EuroChallenge participants Port of Antwerp Giants continue to lead the race, tied in first spot with Belgacom Spirou.
Antwerp had a quiet Saturday at home against Basic-Fit Brussels, securing a 95-71 win behind 19 points and six rebounds from Marko Spica and a 17-point, eight-assist display from Frank Turner.
GRONINGEN WIN EUROCHALLENGE DERBY
|Dutch international Sean Cunningham had 17 points for the Netherlands but it could not help ZZ Leiden get up for the win |
GasTerra Flames Groningen had lost the opening game of the Dutch Eredivisie season to fellow EuroChallenge side ZZ Leiden but won eight of their following nine games and on Saturday they extracted revenge on their Leiden opponents.
The scores were tied at 34 at the break but Groningen started pulling away in the third quarter and clinched a 70-61 victory to improve to 9-2 in the standings, while Leiden have now dropped to 6-4.
Ross Bekkering collected a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds and was one of four players on the winning side to score 11 points, together with Quentin Pryor, Cashmere Wright and Jason Dourisseau.
For Leiden, Sean Cunningham finished with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in a losing effort.
"Once the game was over in Italy (the loss to Reggio Emilia in the EuroChallenge) we turned our minds to this game, as we turn now to the game against KTP," said Groningen head coach Ivica Skelin.
"I knew the game against Leiden was going to be difficult, they are a very good team, very well organised, playing tough basketball and highly motivated coming over here."
"I think that we won this game with our muscles, not with a quality performance.
"I am not happy with our game, especially on offence, it has to be much better, but we had nine or ten games in which we played good basketball, so a certain drop is possible."
Coach Skelin also revealed that Pryor has been playing through injury and it has been decided that he will rest for a week, thus he will not play against Team TEHO Sport Kotka on Tuesday.
The third Dutch Eurochallenge participants, SPM Shoeters Den Bosch, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the Eredivisie over the weekend.
Den Bosch entered the fourth quarter with a four-point lead over Den Helder but lost 85-74 on the road after a catastrophic finale, in which they gave up 27 points to their hosts.
Tai Wesley was once again inspirational for Den Bosch and had 18 points and seven rebounds while Kees Akerboom and Anthony Johnson picked up 16 points apiece in defeat.
EUROCHALLENGE TEAMS IN NATIONAL/REGIONAL LEAGUES AT THE WEEKEND
ABA Adriatic League:
Krka Novo Mesto finished strong and snatched a 68-63 win away at Široki Primorka as Chris Booker collected 16 points and nine rebounds and Jaka Klobucar chipped in with 11 points.
Szolnoki Olaj lost 84-75 at home to Buducnost Podgorica, despite a 21-point display by Willie Warren.
Baltic Basketball League:
BK Ventspils travelled to Estonia and enjoyed an 81-51 rout of Parnu, as Maris Gulbis picked up 14 points, six rebounds and four assists and Ronalds Zakis contributed 10 points.
Tartu Rock edged out Prienai 81-79 at home, as Tanel Kurbas and Janar Talts scored 16 points each, the former adding eight rebounds and the latter dishing out five assists.
Rakvere Tarvas suffered an 117-81 loss to Pyrinto at home, despite 18 points from Kristo Saage in a losing effort.
Italian Serie A:
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia collapsed in the third quarter and lost 73-52 to EA7 Emporio Armani Milano on the road; Greg Brunner finished with 12 points and four rebounds in defeat.
Kataja Basket enjoyed an 102-81 triumph away at UU-Korihait as Mike Morrison came up with a 23-point, nine-rebound performance and Juho Nenonen chipped in with 17 points.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka had to come from behind but delivered a strong final quarter to overpower Namika Lappeenranta 99-86 at home, behind three outstanding individual displays.
Timo Heinonen had 25 points and four rebonds, Chris Owens collected a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds and Joonas Lehtoranta hit five-of-seven triples and finished with 22 points.
French Pro A:
Cholet only scored 11 points in the final quarter and slumped to a 61-58 defeat to Le Mans at home, although Terrell Stoglin finished with 21 points and Lamayn Wilson had 13 points and seven rebounds in losing efforts.
JDA Dijon also lost, 72-63 to Paris Levallois on the road, with Andre Harris picking up 13 points and five rebounds in defeat.
Turkish BEKO Ligi:
Royal Hali Gaziantep returned to winning ways courtesy of a 68-59 success over Mersin at home, on the back of 18 points from veteran Serkan Erdogan and 16 points from Dejan Borovnjak.
Tofas Bursa also won at home, 83-80 over Trabzonspor Medical Park, behind 16-point displays from Marcus Denmon and Serhat Cetin.
VTB United League:
Triumph Lyubersty fought hard for three quarters but ultimately fell 69-59 to CSKA Moscow at home. Cory Higgins had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists and Milovan Rakovic added 14 points and five rebounds for Vasily Karasev's team.
Neither Tsmoki Minsk nor Krasnye Krylia were in action in the VTB league this weekend.