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Week 3 Preview Groups E Through H

18.11.2013

EUROCHALLENGE

Riccardo Cervi, Andrea Cinciarini (Reggio Emilia)
Andrea Cinciarini (left) is set to make his EuroChallenge debut this week

We break down the Game Day 3 clashes in EuroChallenge Regular Season groups E through H, where two teams aim to maintain their perfect record this week.

Two of the fixtures that correspond to this round of games will take place next week.

*Recent form takes into account all domestic and continental league action.

Group E

Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia (1-1) vs. Gasterra Flames Groningen (0-1)

Recent Form: Reggio Emilia WWLLW - Groningen WWWLW

Key Match-Up: Greg Brunner vs. Jeffrey Robinson
The two forwards lead their respective teams in points and rebounds in the EuroChallenge. Brunner, who was Week 1 joint Top-Performer, averages a double-double of 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while Robinson had 21 points and nine rebounds in Groningen's opening game.

Key Stat: Reggio Emilia are extremely effective when they pass the ball inside, as they shoot 58.2% from two-point range, but only convert 38% of their shots from beyond the arc.

Game Notes: Italian international Andrea Cinciarini is poised to make his EuroChallenge debut on Tuesday, after missing the start of the season due to a muscle strain. The point guard contributed 11 points, four rebounds and five assists in his return to action as Reggio Emilia defeated Pistoia at the weekend.

 

Team TEHO Sport Kotka (1-0) vs. Okapi Aalstar (1-1)

Recent Form: Kotka WWWWL - Okapi WLWWL

Key Match-Up: Chris Owens vs. Derek Raivio
They will not guard each other as they play in different positions, but Owens and Raivio are two natural-born scorers who shoot first and ask questions later. Owens had 27 points and eight rebounds in the opening game and Raivio pours in 21.5 points on average

Key Stat: Okapi are not really an altruist bunch, as they share the ball less than any other team in the EuroChallenge, averaging just seven assists-per-game.

Game Notes: By winning their opener against Gronigen, Kotka made a triumphant return to European competitions after a 19-year-long absence.

 

GROUP F

KRKA captain Jure Balazic receives the EuroChallenge Trophy from FIBA Europe Secretary Nar Zanolin and Telenet Oostende President Arthur Goethals
Jure Balazic won the EuroChallenge with Krka in 2011, but will now go up against his old team this week

Tofas SC Bursa (1-1) vs. Krka Novo Mesto (2-0)

Recent Form: Tofas LWWLL - Krka LWLWL

Key Match-Up: Chinemelu Elonu vs. Jasmin Hukic
The Nigerian center is Tofas's second-leading scorer and the second-leading rebounder in the EuroChallenge, with with 17 points and 11.5 boards-per-game and the 34-year-old Hukic, who averages 12.5 points and seven rebounds-per-contest, will have to do his best to push him out of the paint.

Key Stat: Krka have the best defence in the competition, as they have given up an average of 58 points to their opponents in the first two games, but this figure is skewed by the fact that Fortress Jaszberenyi scored just 41 points against the Slovenians, the lowest output in the EuroChallenge since 2009.

Game Notes: Jure Balazic, who now plays for Tofas, was the captain of Krka when they conquered the EuroChallenge trophy in 2011 and his teammate Serhat Cetin won the title in 2012, while playing for Besiktas. Edo Muric, Christopher Booker, Smiljan Pavic and Matej Rojc were on the Krka side that stepped on the top of the podium in 2011.

* The Ural Ekaterinburg vs. Fortress Jaszberenyi fixture is scheduled for 26 November.

 

GROUP G

Kataja Basket (1-1) vs. ZZ Leiden (0-2)

Recent Form: Kataja WWWLW - Leiden WLWLW

Key Match-Up: Michael Morrison vs. Joshua Duinker
The two centers are the main offensive option for their teams and will try to neutralise one another under the basket. Morrison averages 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds-per-game while Duinker contributes 17.5 points and 7.5 boards on average.

Key Stat: Leiden has had the lowest offensive output in the competition so far, as they have averaged only 56.5 points in their first two games, partly because they've shot a meagre 12.9% from beyond the three-point line, also the worst from any team in the EuroChallenge.

Game Notes: The clash sees the competition's top two blockers go head to head, as Leiden's Jason Conrad came up with seven blocks in the opener against Bakken and Morrison blocks three shots-per-game.

*The Bakken Bears vs. Cholet Basket fixture is scheduled for 26 November.

 

GROUP H

9. Aleksandar Mladenovic (Gaz Metan Medias)
Aleksandar Mladenovic needs a big game if BC Mures are to improve to 2-1

Rilski Sportist (0-2) vs. BC Mures (1-1)

Recent Form: Rilski WLLLL - Mures WWWLW

Key Match-Up: Corin Henry vs. Aleksandar Mladenovic
Not a match-up per se as Henry is a point guard and Mladenovic a center, but a battle for dominance in either the frontcourt or the backcourt, as Henry averages 14 points and eight asissts and the Serbian center is a point of reference for Mures, averaging 13 points, 4.5 rebounds and two blocks-per-game.

Key Stat: Mures simply seem not to care when there is a ball bouncing on the rim, as they average only 25.5 rebounds-per-game, the least of any team in the EuroChallenge; Rilski bring down 31.5 boards-per-contest.

Game Notes: Montenegrin point guard Goran Martinic, who dropped a season-high 31 points in Mures's 83-79 win over Tsmoki Minsk in the EuroChallenge opener on 5 November has been nursing an injury and last played on 9 November, in a game against Steaua in the Romanian LNB League. Mures have added small forward Denham Brown to their roster.

 

Tsmoki Minsk (1-1) vs. Szolnoki Olaj (2-0)

Recent Form: Minsk LLWWW - Szolnoki WWLWL

Key Match-Up: Branko Mirkovic vs. Bal√°zs Simon
Neither averages more than the other but they are both the type of organising point guard that keep a clear mind and make things happen for their teammates on the offensive end. Mirkovic keeps the lid on a turnover-prone side and Simon averages nine assists-per-game, second-best in the EuroChallenge behind Aaron Miles.

Key Stat: 'Reckless' does not even begin to describe how little Minsk take care of the ball, as they commit 23 turnovers per game, more than any other team in the EuroChallenge. The Belarusians make up for it to some extent by bringing down a competition-best 45 rebounds-per-game.

Game Notes: Marton Bader collected four rebounds in Szolnoki Olaj's last game against BC Mures and moved into fourth place on the EuroChallenge all-time rebounders' list. The veteran Hungarian international, who is playing his fifth season in the competition, now has 357 rebounds in total.


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