|21 October 2013|
|Dutch international Kees Akerboomwas instrumental in the Netherlands' win at the weekend, scoring 11 points|
SPM Shoeters Den Bosch, BK Ventspils, BC Zepter Vienna and Södertälje Kings have remained as the solitary leaders of their respective national leagues after this weekend's results.
All four EuroChallenge participants are enjoying the solitude at the top of the standings thanks to perfect starts to their domestic campaigns, which continued at the weekend with all gaining important victories on the road.
The Kings have now won five games in a row, while Den Bosch, Ventspils and Vienna have all registered four wins in as many games.
Interestingly, the Swedish, Latvian and Austrian clubs will come up against each other in EuroChallenge Regular Season Group C, together with Estonian side Tartu Rock.
Den Bosch meanwhile, who were drawn in EuroChallenge Group A, claimed on Sunday a 74-59 win away at Apollo Amsterdam in the Dutch Basketball League.
David Gonzalvez and Tai Wesley propelled Den Bosch to a very strong start against their hosts, helping them to a 25-8 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Amsterdam replied with a 9-0 run in the first four minutes of the second period, with Den Bosch's second unit on the floor, but the EuroChallenge club replied with a 9-1 burst late in the frame to maintain a 38-23 advantage at the half-time buzzer.
Stefan Wessels, who was leading Den Bosch in rebounds up until that point with eight boards, picked up an ankle injury at the start of the third quarter and Amsterdam took advantage momentarily, reducing the gap to seven points.
That was as close as the hosts would come however, as Den Bosch forced 18 turnovers on the night to score easy points and extend their lead to as many as 21 points, 72-51, shortly before the final buzzer.
Gonzalvez led all scorers with 19 points, Wesley finished with 14 points, four boards and five steals and Kees Akerboom had 11 points and four rebounds for the winners.
"I'm glad we won the game relatively easily, although it was an ugly victory," Wesley said afterwards.
"However, as long as you get the points it's always a nice victory, and that's what counts at the end of the competition.
"We had to make some changes during the game because of Wessels's injury.
"It didn't look so good at first sight, I just hope that it's not very bad and Stefan gets to play against Zwolle [on Wednesday].
"This will be an important period for us, so we need everyone to play hard."
Vienna's fourth win in as many games in the Austrian Admiral Bundesliga also came on the road, as they prevailed 85-64 against WBC Raiffeisen Wels.
Nikola Pavlicevic came up with a fantastic display to help the Viennese side overcome a slow start to the encounter, which saw them trailing their hosts 36-34 at half-time.
The 25-year-old guard scored a game-high 27 points on 5-for-10 shooting from beyond the three-point line, dished out a game-high eight assists and also grabbed six rebounds to ensure the visitors would storm back after the interval and take control of proceedings.
Vienna outscored their hosts 30-14 in the final frame and got important contributions also from Predrag Miletic, who picked up 17 points and four rebounds, and Florian Trmal, who collected 14 points and six boards.
Ventspils meanwhile had a less eventful weekend as they established their tempo right from tip-off in their clash with Jūrmala/ Fēnikss in the Latvian LBL on Saturday and clinched an 80-61 win.
|Predrag Miletic of Zepter Vienna continued his promising early season form, ending the game with 17 points|
Janis Timma sunk two free throws to give Ventspils their first double-digit lead, 17-7, with four minutes remaining in the first quarter and the visitors maintained a safe cushion until the interval, 46-30.
Ventspils extended their lead to as many as 28 points midway through the final stanza and could even afford to take their foot off the gas in the dying minutes.
Timma and Sandis Valters finished with 15 points and four assists apiece, with Timma also adding seven rebounds, while Davis Lejasmeiers chipped in with 13 points and a game-high seven assists for the winners.
Meanwhile in the Swedish Basketligan, the Kings continue to reign supreme as they clinched an 89-73 win away at Jämtland Basket to extend their winning streak to five games.
The visitors made their intentions crystal clear right from the start as they jumped out to a 26-15 lead, but Jämtland restored the balance in the middle two quarters and the Kings needed another solid display in the final frame to secure the win.
Point guard John Roberson was instrumental in the success of coach Vedran Bosnic's team, as he went four-for-seven from three-point range and finished with 25 points, also dishing out seven assists.
Mantas Griskenas finished with 15 points, Dino Butorac had 12 and Assane Sene collected 10 along with seven rebounds for the Swedish league leaders.
The Kings play host to Vienna on the opening day of EuroChallenge Group C action, while Ventspils travel to Estonia to take on Tartu.
Den Bosch commence their EuroChallenge campaign at home, against Rakvere Tarvas.
The 2013/14 EuroChallenge tips off on Tuesday 5 November.