Roundup: Bears' Unbeaten Run Ends

13 December 2013

EUROCHALLENGE

14. Chris Christoffersen (Bakken Bears Aarhus)
Chris Christoffersen and Bakken Bears Aarhus suffered their first loss of the Danish domestic season on Thursday evening

Bakken Bears Aarhus saw a 10-game winning streak in the Danish BasketLigaen snap on Thursday night and are no longer the only undefeated team in their domestic competition.

Less than 24 hours after claiming a 68-66 win over Kataja Basket on the road to secure a spot in the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge, the Bears travelled to BasketLigaen mid-table side Horsens IC and slumped to an 84-78 loss.

Small forward Brandon Penn poured in nine quick-fire points and Bakken jumped to a 23-12 lead at the end of the first buzzer, but then fatigue gradually started to take its toll on the Bears.

Horsens took advantage of that in the second quarter, scoring 31 points in the period to reach the half-time buzzer with a 43-38 lead.

Bakken reacted after the break and reduced the gap to two points, but ultimately had no answer against Serbian forward Vedran Borovcanin, who collected a game-high 28 points and steered Horsens to victory.

Penn finished with 19 points on 8-for-15 from the floor, Thomas Laerke had 16 points and Kenny Barker added 14 points and six assists for the Bears.

Despite the loss, the Aarhus side are still top of the BasketLigaen standings with a 10-1 record as they have one game in hand over second-placed Randers Cimbria, who stand at 10-2.

 

VENTSPILS PEN GRANT

BK Ventspils are on a three-game losing skid, with two of those defeats coming in their last two games in the EuroChallenge and jeopardising their chances of advancing to the Last 16.

As part of their efforts to reverse this situation, the Latvian club announced on Friday that they have signed a deal with power forward Jerai Grant.

The 24-year-old American commenced the season with Hapoel Holon and averaged seven points and 3.4 rebounds per game in the Israeli Winner League until mid-November, when he parted ways with the former EuroChallenge club.

Grant's first European stop was Italian club Enel Brindisi last season. The 2.03m forward averaged 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in the Serie A.

Ventspils' new arrival is eligible to reinforce the Latvian side next Tuesday in their decisive Group F game at home against BC Zepter Vienna.

The inside player addresses the Latvian's side biggest problem, with Ronalds Zakis being the only real center on the team and small forwards Maris Gulbis and Janis Timma helping out on the ‘4' position. 

Ventpils are only 19th in rebounding in the competition and can surely use the additional inside presence of their new import player.

 

Kataja Basket headcoach Jukka Toijala
Kataja Basket headcoach Jukka Toijala has parted ways with two American players following his team's failure to make the EuroChallenge Last 16

KATAJA MAKE CUTS

The direct victims of Bakken's success in clinching a top-two finish in Group G were Kataja Basket Joensuu, who miss out on a second consecutive appearance in the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge.

This development appears to have had a ripple effect on the Finnish team, who announced that they are to part ways with American duo Renaldo Major and Brian Greene.

The club's collaboration with Major has been terminated, while Greene's contract expires on 21 December and will not be extended.

"At this point in time, I have to admit a mistake with regards to Renaldo," said Kataja head coach Jukka Toijala.

"Unfortunately, there was not enough time for him to adapt to the European game and our style of play, especially since injuries made it more difficult."

Greene is expected to still feature in Kataja's last game in this EuroChallenge campaign, next Tuesday at ZZ Leiden, in what will be his penultimate appearance in a Kataja uniform.

The two American forwards combined for 18.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in the first five games of the EuroChallenge Regular Season.


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