|09 December 2013|
|Courdon Higgins carried Triumph Lyubertsy to victory over fellow EuroChallenge club Tsmoki Minsk with a 34-point haul|
Cory Higgins exploded for 34 points on Saturday to lead Triumph Lyubertsy to an 80-71 win over fellow EuroChallenge side Tsmoki Minsk at home in VTB United League action.
Triumph, the only team that still remains undefeated in the EuroChallenge, are now tied at 4-4 with Minsk and Krasnye Krylia in Group B of the VTB Regular Season.
Minsk got off to a better start at the weekend and led their hosts 41-33 at the half-time interval, riding the hot hand of Keith Benson early on.
But Triumph came back from the locker room looking like a different team with much more focus on defence and claimed the lead, 57-55, by the end of the third quarter.
Minsk were struggling on offence, scoring just three points in the first half of the final frame while at the other end of the floor Higgins was nothing short of unstoppable, drilling 8-of-13 shots from the floor, including three-of-three three-pointers, and grabbing six rebounds to go with his game-high 34 points.
The American guard got plenty of support from Russian young swingman Dmitry Kulagin, who finished with 13 points, and Jeremy Chappell, who had 12 points and six boards.
For Minsk, Pavel Ulyankov and Demonte Harper had 13 points each while Benson finished with 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds in a losing effort.
"After the break the game turned around 180 degrees," said Minsk head coach Donaldas Kairys afterwards.
"I warned my team that Triumph would want to get back in the game and would play more physically and that's what happened.
"Triumph got more aggressive on defence and didn't even give us a look at the basket, [they] were better than us today and Cory Higgins played a perfect game."
|Demetris Nichols rose to the challenge for Krasnye Krylia following injuries to key players, scoring 28 points in victory|
The reigning EuroChallenge champions Krasnye Krylia Samara in the meantime, had to overcome several throwbacks in order to edge out Azovmash 79-76 at home on Saturday.
Center Artem Zabelin was unavailable to coach Sergey Bazarevich due to injury while Julian Wright and Aaron Miles were in the squad but did not step on the court, as they were also battling fitness problems.
Despite the absences the Samara side held a comfy 10-point cushion at the half-time break, but had to hold back a sustained assault by their Ukrainian guests in the second half to secure the victory.
Small forward Demetris Nichols rose to the circumstances and reached a personal season-high of 28 points, adding seven rebounds and four assists to lead the way for Samara.
Anton Pushkov had 17 points and Anton Ponkrashov finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds and seven assists for the winners.
EUROCHALLENGE TEAMS IN NATIONAL/REGIONAL LEAGUES AT THE WEEKEND
ABA Adriatic League:
Szolnoki Olaj reached a famous win over reigning ABA League champions Partizan Belgrade, 76-71 at home; Willie Warren paved the way for Szolonoki with 20 points and seven assists, while Peter Lorant and David Vojvoda chipped in with 15 points apiece.
Krka Novo Mesto meanwhile lost 84-77 to Radnicki on the road, despite an all-round display of 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists by Jaka Klobucar.
Baltic Basketball League:
|Timo Eichfuss led Tartu Rock to victory in the Baltic Basketball League with 18 points|
Tartu University Rock defeated Caspiy 84-59 at home as Timo Eichfuss finished with 18 points and five rebounds and Joosep Toome had 12 points and four rebounds.
Belgian Ethias League:
Port of Antwerp Giants entered the final frame with an eight-point lead but gave up 31 points on defence in the clutch and lost 87-78 at Telenet BC Oostende; Maxime De Zeeuw finished with a game-high 25 points and added three rebounds and Barry Stewart had 21 points and four rebounds in losing efforts.
Okapi Aalstar also lost on the road, 68-62 at Liege, despite the fact Da'Sean Butler led all scorers with 21 points and Lee Cummard collected a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Rilski Sportist enjoyed a spectacular 110-55 rout of Spartak Pleven at home, with Zlatin Georgiev's 17 points leading six players in double digits.
GasTerra Flames Groningen shut down Weert 72-49 on the road with Cashmere Wright and Dan Coleman scoring 17 points each, the latter also adding eight rebounds.
SPM Shoeters Den Bosch prevailed 79-70 over Leeuwarden, also on the road, as Kees Akerboom exploded for a game-high 23 points and David Gonzalvez picked up 12 points and nine rebounds.
ZZ Leiden meanwhile trailed their hosts Zwolle from start to finish and lost 72-59, despite a 14-point effort from Worthy De Jong, who also had three steals.
Estonian Alexela KML:
Rakvere Tarvas registered a comfortable 86-59 road win at TYCO Rapla as Rait Keerles finished with 16 points and eight boards and Rain Raadik added 13 points and seven rebounds.
|Team TEHO Sport Kotka's Joonas Lehtoranta continued his strong start to the season with another 16 points on the weekend|
Kataja Basket out-scored Tapiolan Honka 97-88 at home, behind 21 points from Petri Virtanen and 16 points from Mike Morrison.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka finished strong and clinched a 94-83 win over UU-Korihait on the road, on the back of 16-point display by Joonas Lehtoranta and Sharaud Curry.
Italian Serie A:
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia slumped to a 92-85 defeat at Banco di Sardegna Sassari, despite the a 15-point six-rebound effort by James White.
Latvian Aldaris LBL:
Ventspils suffered their first loss in the competition as they fell 62-61 to VEF Riga at home. Ronalds Zakis was the only player to score in double digits for the hosts and finished with 14 points and six rebounds in defeat.
Södertälje Kings held on to defeat KFUM Nässjö 73-67 at home as Toni Bizaca finished with a game-high 17 points and John Roberson added 15 points and five assists.
Turkish BEKO Ligi:
Tofas Bursa overcame the resistance of Aykon TED Ank. Kolejliler in the fourth to clinch an 89-84 victory, as Marcus Denmon and Serhat Cetin paved the way with 16 points each.
Royal Halı Gaziantep paid for a poor third quarter by suffering a 67-59 defeat to Anadolu Efes at home, as Dejan Borovnjak was the only player to finish in double digits for the hosts, with 16 points.