|16 December 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Maxime De Zeeuw once more was the stand-out performer for PO Antwerp Giants with 26 points and 8 rebounds|
Eight of the ten teams that are in the race for the remaining six tickets to the EuroChallenge Last 16, will enter their respective vital Tuesday encounters on the back of morale-boosting weekend victories.
There are two Belgian sides in this mix of contenders for the last spots to the Last 16 which appear to be arriving on D-Day in excellent shape.
Port of Antwerp Giants cruised to a 92-73 win over Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek at home on Saturday night behind a formidable display by power forward Maxime De Zeeuw, who collected 26 points, eight rebounds and two steals and was named MVP of the week in the Belgian Ethias League.
The Giants started to pull away from their hosts in the second quarter and never looked back as De Zeeuw got plenty of help from Ben Simons, who scored 16 points, and from Frank Turner, who dished out a game-high 11 assists to go with his seven points.
Okapi Aalstar also had a brilliant weekend in the Ethias League, enjoying an 80-57 rout of Stella Artois Leuven Bears on the road.
Forward Da'Sean Butler erupted for 28 points on 6-for-10 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, and added eight rebounds and three assists, while swingman Lee Cummard finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The following day in the nearby Netherlands, SPM Shoeters Den Bosch held on to defeat the visiting Zwolle 80-72, clinching their 10th win of the season in the Dutch Basketball League.
Forwards Stefan Wessels and Kees Akerboom paced Den Bosch with 16 points apiece, as Wessels also picked up a game-high nine rebounds, while Tai Wesley contributed an all-round effort of 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
On Tuesday, Den Bosch are playing host to JDA Dijon, who out-defended Le Havre 59-55 at the weekend to improve to 8-3 in the French Pro A league.
Playing on the road, Dijon overcame a slow start and claimed the lead in the second quarter, never giving up until the final buzzer.
Center Ferdinand Prénom led the winners with a game-high 17 points and added five rebounds, while shooting guard Anthony Dobbins collected a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Team TEHO Sport Kotka, who are facing a direct clash with Okai Aalstar on Tuesday, were not involved in domestic Finnish league action over the weekend.
GROUP C CONTENDERS SHINE
|Akselis Vairogs added 14 points for BK Ventspils in the rout of Barsy|
The three teams that will battle it out for the three tickets to the EuroChallenge Last 16 from Group C also had an excellent weekend.
BK Ventspils snapped a three-game losing streak in style, as their enjoyed a 96-66 rout of Kazakhstan side Barsy at home, in BBL action.
Akselis Vairogs and Janis Timma paced Ventspils with 14 points each, with the latter also collecting a game-high nine rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Center Ronalds Zakis added another solid display of 12 points and seven rebounds, while new signing Jerai Grant made a testimonial five-minute appearance in his first game for Ventspils, almost straight from the airport.
Södertälje BK Kings delivered a performance very similar to that of Ventspils, only they did so on the road.
The Kings crashed LF Basket 101-75 to pick up their 13th win in 15 games in the Swedish Basketligan and maintain second place in the standings.
Forward Toni Bizaca went 8-for-9 from the floor and finished with 20 points, Martin Pahlmblad poured in 19 points and a further four Södertälje players also scored in double digits.
Tartu University Rock also won on the road by a wide margin, beating Tallinna Kalev 85-65 in Estonian Alexela KML league action.
Janar Talts was colossal for Tartu and collected a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds, getting plenty of support from point guard Augustas Peciukevicius, who contributed 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
KRKA WIN THRILLING DERBY
|KRKA fans will be more than happy to see captain Edo Muric back delivering for his side|
In a thrilling Adriatic ABA league clash on Saturday, Krka Novo Mesto came back from eight points down in the final quarter, forced overtime and eventually defeated fellow Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana 67-63 in overtime.
Edo Muric seemed to be back in full fitness after his recent injury woes, as he drilled four of his seven three-point attempts and led Krka with a game-high 22 points, also adding six rebounds and four assists.
Jaka Klobucar chipped in with 11 points while the latest addition to the Krka roster, veteran guard Sani Becirovic, finished with seven points and two assists.
Krka will face off wit Tofas Bursa for a berth in the next phase of the EuroChallenge and the Turkish team were the only exception to the rule what saw all Last 16 contenders triumphing at the weekend.
Tofas paid the price for a poor second-quarter display and fell 82-78 at Olin Edirne in Turkish BEKO TBL league action, dropping to 5-5 in the standings.
Shooting guard Marcus Denmon was impressive in defeat, finishing with a game-high 25 points and adding five rebounds and four assists.
Also excellent for Tofas in losing efforts were Jure Balazic, who had 14 points, and center Chinemelu Elonu, who collected a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.