|03 March 2014|
|Dejan Borovnjak assisted Royal Hali Gaziantep to victory with 18 points and seven rebounds|
Royal Hali Gaziantep were the only team to maintain the positive momentum among the four EuroChallenge quarter-finalists who were involved in national or regional league action at the weekend.
The Turkish side travelled to Olin Edirne and picked up a 95-78 victory, the seventh win in their last eight games in the domestic BEKO TBL.
Jure Zdovc's men, who have only lost to Turkish league leaders Banvit in the 14 games they have played in all competitions since 28 December, improved to 9-11 in the TBL standings and remain firmly in the race for a play-off spot.
Gaziantep were uncharacteristically permissive during the first quarter and Edirne jumped to a 25-19 lead but gradually their defence reverted to type while veteran Ernest Bremer made key long-range shots at the other end of the floor.
The visitors installed themselves in the driver's seat, 44-43, just before the half-time buzzer, and increased the lead to double digits in the third quarter.
Gaziantep were never in danger again, claiming the vital road win without Edirne posing any significant resistance before the final buzzer.
Bremer finished with a game-high 21 points on five-of-nine three-point shooting, while he also dished out five assists.
Dejan Borovnjak picked up 18 points and seven rebounds and point guard Baris Ermis collected a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists for the winners.
Meanwhile, in an interesting coincidence, all three teams which won do-or-die encounters midweek in the EuroChallenge to snatch the last available spots to the quarter-final play-offs, lost at the weekend.
|Demetris Nichols' 19 points was not enough to help Krasnye Krylia avoid going down to CSKA Moscow |
In the VTB United League, Krasnye Krylia put up a great fight on the road, against powerhouse CSKA Moscow, but lost 81-77 and dropped to 7-9 in the regular season Group B standings.
The reigning EuroChallenge champions trailed their fellow Russian side 24-14 at the end of the first quarter but put in an outstanding offensive second-frame display to push ahead 43-41 by the half-time break.
Michal Ignerski, with a lay-up, gave Krasnye Krylia a 53-50 lead midway through the third period but as both sides wasted successive possesions after that, Sony Weems balanced proceedings with a triple and Kyle Hines restored CSKA in the lead with a dunk.
The Moscow side entered the final frame with a five-point cushion and while Krasnye Krylia did not manage to come any closer again, they can be satisfied with giving their famed opponents a good scare.
Demetris Nichols went seven-of-eight from the floor and collected a game-high 19 points for Krasnye Krylia, also adding seven rebounds, while Ignerski finished with 17 points and Oleksiy Pecherov chipped in with 16 points in losing efforts.
|James White and Reggio Emilia fell to a loss in domestic action over the weekend|
Meanwhile Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia got into the spirit of their Italian Serie A away clash against Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia quite late, and found themselves trailing 20-9 after the first 10 minutes and 40-22 at the interval.
Reggio Emilia sprung into life offensively after the break but their defensive improvement did not come until the fourth, when it was too late to climb back from a 60-44 deficit at the end of the third quarter.
The visitors' last-gasp push however allowed them to reduce the final score to a more presentable 74-66 loss.
James White had 25 points and six boards and Troy Bell finished with 10 points for Reggio Emilia in defeat.
SZOLNOKI, WARREN GO THEIR SEPERATE WAYS
Szolnoki Olaj fell 86-77 away at Buducnost Podgorica in ABA Adriatic League action, despite 16 points from Justin Holiday and 11 point-efforts each from Balázs Simon, Strahinja Milosevic and Marton Bader.
The outcome of the weekend encounter in Montenegro was not of particular importance to Szolnoki, as they do not stand any chance of qualifying to the competition's Final Four, but the game was significant from a tactical point of view, as it was their first without Willie Warren.
|Willie Warren and Szolnoki Olaj have parted ways on mutual agreement|
The Hungarian club announced on the eve of the weekend game that they had decided to terminate their contract with the American point guard, by mutual consent.
Warren was instrumental to Szolnoki's run to the EuroChallenge quarter-finals, as he averaged 11.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.
He will be replaced in the roster by Serbian guard Radenko Pilčević in the EuroChallenge and the Hungarian domestic league, which Szolnoki will join during the play-offs.
Pilčević however is not eligible to play for Szolnoki in the remainder of the Adriatic league, as he was on the Radnicki Kragujevac roster during the first half of the season.
In his seven appearances with Radnicki, Pilčević averaged 2.9 points, 1.7 assists and one rebound per game.
Meanwhile Obie Trotter, who returned to Szolnoki during the winter break, has been recovering at a satisfactory pace from his injury and could be the surprise reinforcement at the point guard spot for the Hungarian champions.