BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|With 6-for-10 downtown shooting, Marcus Denmon led Tofas SC Bursa to shock victory over the previously unbeaten Fenerbahce|
Scenes of jubilation erupted at Ataturk arena in Bursa on Sunday, as EuroChallenge Group F participants Tofas SC claimed a big scalp and made headlines in Turkey and around Europe.
Tofas came from behind to stun powerhouse Fenerbahce 89-81 in BEKO TBL action and inflict on Zeljiko Obradovic's troops their first defeat after an unbeaten start to the domestic and Euroleague season.
Fenerbahce seized the initiative and as Emir Preldzic and Bojan Bogdanovic were sharp on offence early on, they built a 43-35 lead at the interval.
When the visitors extended their lead to 11 points midway through the third period, it seemed almost inevitable that they would claim their fifth consecutive win in the TBL, but suddenly Marcus Denmon sprung into action.
The Tofas guard started hitting big shot after big shot from long range, to help his team reduce the gap to just one point, 58-57, at the end of the third quarter.
Denmon went 6-for-10 from three-point range and found plenty of support from Serhat Çetin and Jure Balazic, as they also converted a combined six of their 10 three-point shots.
Tofas claimed the lead on yet another Denmon basket on the first possession in the final frame and continued to bombard their guests from downtown in the fourth frame until they turned the tables around and built a 10-point cushion going into the final minute.
Denmon finished with a game-high 26 points and added six rebounds and three assists, Çetin had 16 points and seven assists and Balazic chipped in with 13 points.
"It is important that even when we fell behind, we were able to evaluate every ball and every possession separately," Tofas head coach Ahmet Caki said afterwards.
"The players were naturally so concentrated on this big game, they were mentally ready for this event."
Tofas have now improved to 3-2 in the BEKO TBL standings and have climbed back to the top-8, but Royal Halı Gaziantep, the other EuroChallenge participant, dropped to 1-4 over the weekend.
On Saturday, just three days after registering the biggest surprise in the opening week of the EuroChallenge Regular Season with their 96-89 double-overtime epic triumph at Krasnye Krylia, Gaziantep fell 88-83 to Olin Edirne at home.
Dejan Borovnjak finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, Oliver Stevic had 16 points and 15 boards and Stanley Burell added 14 points in defeat for Gaziantep.
Despite Borovnjak's and Stevic's double-double efforts, the hosts could find no antidote to Edirne's Daris Washington, who collected a game-high 33 points.
VTB TRIO GET THE JOB DONE
|Demetris Nichols, seen here previously playing for BCM Gravelines Dunkerque, had 18 points for Triumph on the weekend as they upset VEF Riga in the VTB League|
While Gaziantep did not manage to follow up their big midweek success in Samara with a domestic victory, Krasnye Krylia recovered from the shock by clinching a victory in VTB United League action on Saturday.
Krasnye Krylia did not sparkle at home against Lithuanian side Neptunas, they managed however to pick up a 79-72 win.
The hosts led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter, but Russian international Anton Ponkrashov had to come to the rescue, with two big personal plays, when the visitors tied the scores at 72 with 2:26 left to play in the encounter.
Demetris Nichols paced Krasnye Krylia with a game-high 18 points, Julian Wright had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists and Ponkrashov finished with 13 points and seven assists.
"After the unlucky game with Gaziantep in the EuroChallenge, we lost confidence in ourselves," Krasnye Krylia head coach Sergey Bazarevich admitted after Saturday's game.
"Losing to the Turks was a big blow to the team's spirit.
"We knew that we needed to beat Neptunas at home. Not everything worked out, but it's good that the game ended well for us."
Tsmoki Minsk also bounced back on Saturday from their midweek 83-79 loss at home to BC Mures by finding success in the VTB League, as they got off to a brilliant start and then held on to defeat Azovmash 74-67 on the road.
Keith Benson paved the way for Minsk with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds, Parrish Petty added 14 points and seven rebounds and Branko Mirkovic collected 13 points and seven assists.
Triumph Lyubertsy meanwhile came up with a big fourth quarter to edge out VEF Riga 73-72 at home and pick up their third win within the week, between EuroChallenge and the VTB League.
Triumph trailed the Latvian side by as many as 10 points in the third quarter but Courdon Higgins scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Jeremy Chappell chipped in with 12 points and four assists to turn the tables around in the clutch.
Krasnye Krylia and Tsmoki Minsk are tied in third place in Group B of the VTB League regular season with a 3-2 record, while Triumph stand at 2-3.
MLADENOVIC ON FIRE IN ROMANIA
|Aleksandar Mladenovic poured in 32 points in domestic action |
After claiming a road victory at Minsk in their EuroChallenge debut last Tuesday, BC Mures carried on their newly-found form to the domestic front at the weekend as they pushed back CSA Steaua CSM Eximbank to register a 92-89 win in the Romanian LNB league.
Just like in Minsk, a Mures player scored more than 30 points to lead his team to victory, only this time around it was not Montenegrin Goran Martinic, but Aleksandar Mladenovic who stole the show.
The Serbian big man went 13-for-15 from the floor and collected a season-high 32 points, also adding five rebounds, while Ivan Jelenic contributed 19 points and Martinic chipped in with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Gaz Metan Medias on the other hand could not replicate their EuroChallenge form in the LNB, losing 90-81 to U-BT-Mobitelco Cluj on the road, despite Rares Mandache's 17 points and a 16-point, six-rebound display by Kyle Shiloh.
CSM Oradea were the only one of the three Romanian teams to lose in the EuroChallenge opening week, but no opponent seems able to stop them in the LNB.
On Saturday night the league leaders claimed their seventh win in eight games, 87-79 away at BC Timisoara.
Oradea used a big second quarter to pull away, as they outscored their hosts 31-16, and picked up the road win relatively comfortably, despite a worrying drop in performance in the final frame.
Daniel Dillon had 24 points for the winners while Romanian international Titus Nicoara put in another double-double display, this time picking up 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Oradea are solitary leaders of the LNB with a 7-1 record, Mures are in seventh place with 4-3 and Medias are in 11th place as they stand at 2-5.