|03 February 2014|
|David Vojvoda and Szolnoki Olaj remain in the hunt for an ABA League play-off spot|
EuroChallenge Group J rivals Krka Novo Mesto and Szolnoki Olaj claimed vital wins on the road at the weekend to improve their chances of clinching a spot in the play-offs of the ABA Adriatic League.
Krka leapfrogged no less than three opponents with one strike and climbed to eighth place in the standings on an 8-11 record thanks to their hard-fought 57-55 win at Croatian side Zadar.
In a clash where both teams struggled offensively, Krka kept their hosts to just nine points during the third quarter and transformed a 33-29 half-time deficit into a 45-42 lead.
Zadar tied the scores at 53 going into the final minute but Jaka Klobucar hit a jumper and Sani Becirovic sunk two free-throws to seal victory for Krka before Filip Kraljevic reduced to two points at the final buzzer from the foul line.
Becirovic was the only Krka player to score in double digits as he finished with 12 points and added six rebounds, while Christopher Booker and Klobucar had nine points each for the Slovenian side.
"It was a very important game for both us and Zadar so whoever came here to watch something beautiful should have probably spent their time elsewhere," Krka head coach Aleksandar Dzikic said, acknowledging the unattractive scoreline.
"Both teams fought hard and wanted to win. The victory means a lot to us, because we have been going through a strange stretch."
Krka benefited from simultaneous defeats to the trio of Union Olimpija Ljubljana, Mega Vizura and Radnicki Kragujevac.
Szolnoki were the team responsible for inflciting the loss on Radnicki and thanks to their fantastic 91-82 win on the road, they have come within two wins of the top-8 of the table for the first time since the beginning of the season.
David Vojvoda paved the way for the Hungarian side with a game-high 26 points, Justin Holiday added 18 points, Peter Lorant collected 13 points and eight rebounds and Miljan Rakic chipped in with 12 points and five assists.
"Both teams were exhausted, because they play two games a week," said Szolnoki head coach Dragan Aleksic.
"We took a little gamble with Radnicki's shots on defence and on the offensive end we were precise, got scores in the fast-break and we claimed a deserved win."
DILYS SOLID AS A ROCK
|Vilmantas Dilys continued his magical season at Tartu Rock, taking them to victory over Estonian rivals Kalev/Cramo|
Vilmantas Dilys delivered a stellar display at the weekend, in arguably the most important game in Tartu University Rock's domestic calendar, against a previously undefeated team in the Estonian Alexela KML.
The Lithuanian big man came up with a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Tartu to a 75-68 triumph away at arch-rivals Kalev/Cramo.
Dilys's performance helped Tartu grab the lead in the third quarter following a too-close-for-comfort first half and stay in the driver's seat until the final buzzer.
Gert Dorbek added 13 points, three rebounds and three assists while point guard Augustas Peciukevicius chipped in with nine points and seven assists.
Tartu, who are going through a fantastic run of form on all fronts as they march unbeaten in EuroChallenge Group I, have now improved to 15-1 and overtaken Kalev/Cramo at the top of the standings.
KRYLIA CONTINUE RECRUITING
EuroChallenge reigning champions Krasnye Krylia were not in action at the weekend but their front office was busy adding one more weapon to coach Sergey Bazarevich's arsenal.
Shooting guard Larry O'Bannon has become the third player to join the Samara club in the last three weeks and should be eligible to make his debut with Krasnye Krylia on Tuesday, when his new team play host to Krasny Oktyabr in the VTB League.
The 30-year-old O'Bannon spent the first half of the season at French club Antibes and averaged 13.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his 15 games in the Pro A League.
The 1.94m American has previous experience of the EuroChallenge, as he was on the Maccabi Haifa roster during several months in the 2010/11 season, when the Israeli side reached the Last 16 of the competition.
BELGIAN ETHIAS LEAGUE
Port of Antwerp Giants started strong and held on to claim a 93-85 win on the road over Basic-Fit Brussels, behind yet another double-double display by Belgian international Maxime De Zeeuw, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
|James White helped assure another home win for Reggio Emilia|
Team TEHO Sport Kotka have solidified themselves in fourth place on the table with a hard-earned 79-66 win over Namika Lahti at home. Chris Owens paved the way with 15 points, five rebounds and five assists and Jukka Matinen chipped in with 15 points.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia claimed another win at home and maintain seventh place in the standings. The hosts prevailed 89-80 over Sutor Montegranaro as James White poured in 17 points and Andrea Cinciarini came up with a 12-point, 12-assist double-double.
BK Ventspils made easy work of their home clash with Barons Kvartals and picked up a 94-64 victory as five of their players scored in double digits. Jannis Timma finished with a game-high 17 points while Jerai Grant contributed 14 points and 11 boards.
VTB UNITED LEAGUE
Triumph Lyubertsy had to overcome a slow start but recovered in time to avoid falling victims of an upset and defeat Lithuanian side Neptunas 83-70 at home. Cory Higgins paved the way once more for the Russian team, as he collected a game-high 24 points and added five rebounds and five assists.
Tsmoki Minsk meanwhile fell 89-68 at CSKA Moscow, despite a 17-point effort by Branko Mirkovic.