|09 January 2014|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Lamayn Wilson scored 18 points to lead Cholet to victory|
Any newly-installed coach would like to commence his tenure with a win, but Cholet went a step further in Laurent Buffard's first game in charge on Wednesday, by turning a previously registered loss into a victory.
Cholet beat Chalon 87-84 on the road in French Pro A action, in the replay of a Game Day 10 fixture they had originally lost 72-71 back in December, but was later deemed null.
Immediately after that clash Cholet had appealed for the game to be replayed, on the grounds that A.J. Slaughter's buzzer-beating three-pointer which had won the game for Chalon, should in fact have counted for two points only, as his team-mate Clint Capela had touched the ball before it dropped in the basket.
The appeals' committee of the French Basketball Federation examined the video of the game and deemed Cholet were right in saying that the score should have been 71-71 and that game should have gone into overtime.
The replay was scheduled for Wednesday 8 January, but in the meantime a lot of changes took place at Cholet.
The French club advanced to the EuroChallenge Last 16 on a 5-1 record but over the Christmas break they decided to part ways with head coach Jean-Manuel Sousa, following their seventh straight defeat in the Pro A (sixth straight after that loss to Chalon was proclaimed null) and appointed Buffard in his place.
On Wednesday, Cholet trailed their hosts 50-44 at half-time but once an Eric Chatfield triple brought them ahead 60-59, late in the third quarter, they managed to hold on to the lead until the final buzzer and celebrate snatching victory from the jaws of defeat - quite literally on this occasion.
Lamayn Wilson, with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists, together with John Cox, who had 17 points and seven assists, paved the way for Buffard's men.
Cholet have now improved to 6-8 in the standings and, most importantly, they are off to a more than dreamy start under Buffard and have snapped the six-game skid.
The French side are playing one more domestic game, away at Nancy at the weekend, before travelling to Slovenia to take on Krka Novo Mesto in the premiere of the EuroChallenge Last 16 next Tuesday.
|Janis Timma had a team-high 24 points in Ventspils' win over Valmiera|
VENTSPILS WIN BIG ON THE ROAD
BK Ventspils emerged triumphant on Wednesday from an important clash on the road, making easy work out of what was theoretically one of their biggest challenges in the Latvian Aldaris LBL Regular Season calendar.
The Latvian champions travelled to BK Valmiera and delivered a dominant performance from start to finish to rout the current league leaders 84-59.
Ventspils came in the clash guns blazing and jumped to a 13-point lead already by the end of the first quarter, never letting their foot off the gas until the final buzzer, despite the fact that coach Roberts Stelmahers could even afford to give playing time to all 12 players on his squad.
Versatile young forward Janis Timma spearheaded the charge with 24 points and five rebounds, point guard Lorenzo Williams added 16 points, big man Ronalds Zakis collected a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards while the latest addition to the Ventspils roster, center Jerai Grant, finished with nine points and three rebounds.
Stelmahers's troops have now improved to 11-1 in the standings with Valmiera and BK Jekabpils remaining at the top with 13 wins each, although both sides have already played 18 games apiece. VEF Riga remain as the only unbeaten side in the LBL, albeit having played only five games so far.
The Last 16 campaign of Ventspils in the EuroChallenge gets underway next Tuesday with a difficult away game at Royal Hali Gaziantep.
At the same time that Ventspils were coming up with this great display, another EuroChallenge side were slumping to a shock defeat a bit further to the west.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka had the chance to climb to third place in the Finnish Korisliiga standings as they were playing host to second-from-bottom Kouvot, but instead lost 105-97 after double overtime.
The stunned hosts looked particularly rusty as Kouvot outscored them 22-13 in the second quarter to take a nine-point lead at half-time, and despite the fact they rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the scores at 78 and force the first overtime, they never managed to tighten the screws on defence.
The end of the first extra period found the two opponents tied at 90 but Kouvot simply kept going strong in second overtime while Kotka run out of fuel and succumbed to their fate.
Chris Owens finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, while Sharaud Curry had 20 points and eight assists and Timo Heinonen added 16 points for Kotka in losing efforts.
Kotka are pitted in Group L of the EuroChallenge and play host to Tsmoki Minsk on Wednesday 15 January, in the encounter that concludes the first game day in the Last 16 phase.