|25 March 2014|
|Veteran Ernest Bremer provided Gaziantep with much more than a safe pair of hands on Monday, as he led all scorers with 17 points |
Royal Hali Gaziantep claimed on Monday night the most famous result during their brief history in the Turkish top flight, by defeating reigning BEKO TBL champions Galatasaray Liv Hospital 69-65 at home.
It was a memorable night for the capacity-strong crowd at Sahinbey Spor Salonu, who just last season were supporting a club which was competing in the second division in Turkey.
"I want to congratulate the fans for their support and my players for their effort," Gaziantep head coach Jure Zdovc said afterwards.
"They absolutely deserved to beat a Euroleague team, and they've done it today."
Gaziantep employed their trademark tough-as-nails defence in the second half, especially in the second half, forcing Gala to go 18-for-44 from the floor and commit 19 turnovers on the night.
"Congratulations to Gaziantep, they have a very good team and we will have to take measures after committing so many turnovers in this game," commented Galatasaray and new Turkey head coach Ergin Ataman.
On the other end of the floor, the EuroChallenge semi-finalists struggled all night from beyond the three-point arc and hit only four shots from downtown in 22 attempts, but hurt the champions enormously in the paint, shooting 20-of-37 from two-point range.
Their success inside was remarkable considering the fact that star power forward Dejan Borovnjak was limited to only 13 minutes of action.
Galatasaray jumped to a 17-14 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended the gap to 26-21 early in the second as Serbian international Zoran Erceg, who finished with 16 points, was causing all sorts of problems from mid- and long range.
Gaziantep quickly levelled proceedings on the back of some inspired plays by Ernest Bremer and the veteran point guard drilled a triple to bring the hosts ahead, 40-39, just before the half-time buzzer.
It was after the break that Gaziantep really turned on the screws on defence and in conjunction with an improvement on the glass, their Achilles heel thus far, they gave up only 10 points to their guests in the entire third period and entered the final frame leading 58-49.
Gaziantep maintained their healthy cushion and esessentially prohibited any thoughts of a Galatasaray comeback attempt by forcing the champions to turn the ball over repeatedly in the clutch.
The visitors reduced the difference to four points in the final minute, but it was largely thanks to their accuracy from the free-throw line.
Bremer paced the winners with 17 points and five assists, Domen Lorbek and Borovnjak each had 12 points and three rebounds, while Oliver Stevic finished with 11 points and a game-high eight boards.
Gaziantep have now improved to 11-12 and are tied with TED Ankara in seventh place in the standings, while Galatasaray are in fourth spot with a 15-8 record, with seven games remaining to the end of the BEKO TBL regular season.
"We have some tough games coming up, we will need to prepare for them the best we can and we will see where we end up in the season," Zdovc replied when asked about his team's chances to clinch a play-off spot.
Gaziantep are facing Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in the semi-finals of the EuroChallenge Final Four, on 25 April.