|29 December 2013|
EUROCHALLENGEA laconic statement on Cholet Basket's official website on Saturday confirmed that the French club which competes in EuroChallenge Group J has decided to part ways with head coach Jean-Manuel Sousa.
"Jean-Manuel Sousa has been dismissed and Cholet will soon look to appoint a new coach," the statement read.
The dismissal of Sousa came in the wake of a heavy loss at home on Friday night, 85-59 to Lyon-Villeurbanne.
|Andre Harris has helped Dijon climb to the top of the French League|
Sousa had steered Cholet to the EuroChallenge Last 16 with an excellent 5-1 record in Regular Season Group G, but the defeat to Villeurbanne was their seventh in a row in the French Pro A League.
Consequently, and despite a very promising start to the season, Cholet have now dropped to 13th place in the Pro A standings with a 5-9 record and are no longer in the race for a place in the mid-February Leaders Cup (formerly Semaine des As).
The 49-year-old Sousa had voluntary terminated a four-year reign at Le Havre to take charge of Cholet in June 2012, replacing Erman Kunter at the helm.
On Friday, Cholet started off in fighting fashion and looked set to finally snap the skid as they led 20-16 at the end of the first quarter but then collapsed in the second half.
The hosts were outscored 46-24 by Villeurbanne in the final two frames and stood no chance of a comeback despite the efforts of Lamayn Wilson, who had 18 points, on 7-for-8 from the floor, seven rebounds and two assists in defeat.
The contrast between Cholet's woes and the current state of affairs at the other French club which competes in the EuroChallege Last 16, JDA Dijon, could hardly be any starker at the end of the calendar year.
On Friday night, Dijon held on to defeat Pau-Lacq-Orthez 66-63 at home and will spend New Year's Day as the solitary leaders of the French Pro A league, with a 10-4 record.
Andre Harris paved the way for Dijon with 21 points on 7-for-11 from the floor and four rebounds, TJ Campbell had 15 points and five assists while Zacherie Moss chipped in with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Dijon have now become the first team to secure a spot in the Leaders Cup and will maintain their status as league leaders until action in the Pro A resumes, on 11 January.
Another team that, just like the Pro A leaders, is pitted in Group K of the EuroChallenge Last 16 and will wave goodbye to 2013 on a high note, is Royal Hali Gaziantep.
On Saturday, Jure Zdovc's side snapped a five-game losing streak in the Turkish BEKO Ligi by clinching a 72-64 win over Aliaga Petkim at home, their third victory in 10 games in their domestic league so far this season.
Turkish guard Can Ogut had a game-high 24 points for the hosts, Oliver Stevic added 19 points and five rebounds and Mutlu Akpinar contibuted 14 points, four rebounds and five assists.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka meanwhile, who returned on Saturday to Finnish Korisliiga action after almost three weeks, lost 78-76 to Lapuan Korikobrat in overtime.
Sharaud Curry had 17 points and Ryan Ayers added 15 points for the EuroChallenge Group L team, which has now dropped to 12-6 in the Finnish league standings.