EuroChallenge: It all comes down to Week 6
With EuroChallenge Week 5 in the books, five clubs have their invitations to the quarterfinals and seven still have a shot at moving on. The group to watch is Group I as all four clubs are still alive, with only Pinar Karsiyaka the only team locked in, the other three all sit with 2-3 records. In Group J, BCM Gravelines locked up their spot on Tuesday with a buzzer-beater in overtime over Paris-Levallois. In Week 6, the winner of the Paris-Szolnoki Olaj game will move on. In Group K, undefeated Krasnye will move on and Khimik and Tofas have shots to get in. If both clubs win in Week 6 Khimik will move on as they win the tie-break having won both matches the two played. If only one of the two win next week, that team will have more basketball to play in the EuroChallenge quarterfinals. The only group that’s completely set is Group L where EWE Baskets is in with a 4-1 record and Telekom Baskets Bonn will make it even if they lose next week since they beat Okapi Aalstar in the tie break.
Pinar Karsiyaka – Ventspils, 84:75
Pinar Karsiyaka locked up a spot in the quarters with an 84:75 win over Ventspils. The win improves Pinar to 4-1, while Ventspils drops into a three-way tie with 2-3 records.
The hosts took care of business in the first half, getting up 27:20 after the first quarter, then running off 13 unanswered in the second while outscoring Ventspils 24:14 in the second to head into the break up 51:34.
Ventspils put up a good fight in the third, getting 10 back using the long ball and a 2:15 run, to head into the final quarter down 65:59. Karsiyaka ran off six after an early three-point play to get up 71:62 and never let the guests get closer than five from there on to move on to the next round.
Abdul Aminu led Pinar with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Robert Dixon added 15, and Soner Senturk dropped in 13 points and dished off 7 assists. Donald Sims paced the guests with 16 points and 6 assist. Arturs Berzins added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Joensuun Kataja – Gaz Metan Medias, 79:75
Joensuun Kataja kept their playoff hopes alive with a massive fourth quarter comeback against Gaz Metan Medias. The win ties both clubs with Ventspils at 2-3 which sets up the Week 6 matches to be the deciding games.
Medias dominated the first half, getting up 26:39 at the half. The two clubs battled to a 23-all time in the third to head into the fourth quarter with the score at 49:62 in favor of Medias.
A 21:2 run that started from the beginning of the fourth quarter put Kataja up 71:64 with just over three minutes to play. Medias was able to cut the margin to two with 10 seconds to play, but Joensuun hit four of four free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
Jermaine Flowers scored 16 points and dished off 4 assists to lead Joensuun. Antti Kanervo and Daniel Coleman (11 rebounds) added 14 each to the win. Ivan Lilov was game-high for Gaz Metan Medias with 18 points.
Paris Levallois – Gravelines-Dunkerque, 86:87
Gravelines-Dunkerque earned a spot in the quarterfinals with an 86:87 win that needed an extra five minutes to complete. The win gives Gravelines a 4-1 record and drops Paris-Levallois to 3-2 and in a tie with Szolnoki Olaj. Paris and Szolnoki square off in Week 6 to determine which club will complete the duo coming out of Group J to the quarterfinals.
Gravelines got up 18:22 after the first quarter, and Paris countered in the second to get up by one, 35:34, as the half ended. The margin stayed at one at the end of three when the clubs battled to a 23:23 tie in the third 10. Paris sent the contest into the extra time with a lay-up in the final minute, while Gravelines missed a jumper and a three-pointer in the last 15 seconds, to end regulation knotted at 76.
The clubs exchanged buckets over the four minutes of the overtime frame, with Paris taking the lead at 86:85 with a dunk by John Cox with 26 seconds to play. Gravelines came down and Dwight Buycks missed a lay-up with 1 second to play, but Yannick Bokolo put the tip in as time ran out.
Kennedy Winston was game-high for Gravelines with 25 points. Buycks added 13 and Bokolo contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cox dropped on 16 to lead Paris. Maleye Ndoye and Andrew Albicy added 14 each.
Szolnoki Olaj – Hapoel Holon, 81:66
Szolnoki Olaj set up a winner-take-all match next week with Paris Levallois when they beat up on Hapoel Holon in an 81:66 home win. The win improves Szolnoki to 3-2, while Hapoel Holon stays winless at 0-5.
The hosts got out quick and built a 12-point lead after the first quarter with a 28:16 score. They added another nine points in the second to head into the break up 44:25. In the third they extended the lead another six to be up 68:42 as the final frame started. Hapoel used a 1:16 run to open the quarter and was able to cut the gap 11-points to finish out the contest down 81:66.
James Florence led the hosts with 20 points, connecting on 6 of 8 from behind the arc. Sead Sehovic added 13 and Maton Bader dropped in 11. Franklin Hassell had a huge game, dropping in 24 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Lawrence Hill contributed 18 points.
Krasnye Krylya – Khimik Yuzhne, 76:68
Krasnye Krylya remained unbeaten with a 76:68 win over Khimik, who falls to 2-3. If Khimik can win next week they’ll join Krasnye in the quarterfinals.
Khimik got up 14:18 at the end of the first, but Krasnye countered in the second and cut the margin to one, 35:36, at the half. The hosts took over in the third and had a 12:2 scoring run to start the frame, by the buzzer they were up 59:46. Khimik was able to cut the margin to five mid-way through the fourth, but couldn’t get any closer to secure the fifth win for the hosts.
Evgeny Kolesnikov led the way for Krasnye with 19 points. Aaron Miles added 14, Omar Thomas dropped in 13, and Chester Simmons contributed 12. Devoe Joseph and Willie Deane scored 16 each for Khimik. Suad Sehovic added 14 and Miroslave Todic dropped in 10.
Tofas SC – Norrkoping Dolphins, 76:70
Tofas SC picked up a critical win against Norrkoping, 76:70, keeping their hopes of moving on to the quarterfinals alive. Next week Tofas needs a win over unbeaten Krasnye and needs Norrkoping to beat Khimik.
It was a tight game throughout, with Tofas leading the way for 37 of 40 minutes. The hosts opened the game building a five-point margin at the end of the first 10, 19:14. They extended the lead with an 8:0 run to get up 11, which was countered by 12:3 run by the Dolphins. At the end of the half Tofas was up 32:29. The second half was littered with alternating scoring runs that pushed the lead to double figures, then cut to two and then repeated. With two minute to play the Dolphins had pulled to within two 67:65, which was followed by Tofas’ final run, this time eight unanswered to put the game out of reach.
Tomislave Ruzic led the hosts with 19, Austin Nichols added 15, and Chinemelu Elonu dropped in 12. Christian Maraker was game-high with 22 points for Norrkoping with Joakim Kjellborn adding 12.
EWE Baskets Oldenburg – Telekom Baskets Bonn, 88:92
Telekom Baskets handed EWE Baskets their first loss in the EuroChallenge Last 16 when they traveled to Oldenburg and came away with an 88:92 win.
The clubs played to a 41:41 tie at the half, and Telekom took the lead in the third to head into the final 10 up 60:65. Telekom held the lead for the majority of the last frame, but EWE was able to stay close and battle all the way to the end. With just over two minutes to play, EWE pulled within one, 82:83. Jamal McLean the connected on a pair of singles and then a lay-up to extend the lead back to five. With a minute to play Telekom was up 84:88, and it wasn’t until there were seven seconds left that either club tallied points, when Robin Smeulders connected on two free throws to bring the hosts to within two 86:88. Both teams scored inside the last 10 seconds to play, but Telekom was able to hold EWE off to earn a spot in the quarterfinals.
McLean was game-high with 28 for Telekom, and Kyle Weems added 14 points and 7 rebounds. Benas Veikalas dropped in 12. Christopher Kramer paced EWE with 19 points, Julius Jenkins added 14 and Dru Joyce contributed 12.
Okapi Aalstar – Tsmoki-Minsk, 100:76
Okapi Aalstar came into Week 5 needing a win over Tsmoki-Minsk and needed Telekom Baskets to lose to EWE Baskets for a chance at advancing to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, Bonn was able to defeat Oldenburg, so even though Aalstar was able to soundly defeat Tsmoki-Minsk 100:76, it wasn’t enough to move Aalstar on.
Okapi controlled the contest from the beginning, outscoring Minsk 23:16 in the first, and 26:17 in the second to head into the intermission up 49:33. They continued in the third, adding another 11 to the margin in the third with a 26:15 score and then cruised in the fourth to the win.
Derek Raivio was high man for Okapi with 20 points, Ryan Thompson added 18, Arne Steinbach contributed 14 and Christopher Young dropped in 13. Pavel Ulyanko was game-high with 24 points for Minsk, while Aliaksei Lashkevich had 11 and Aliaksandr Kudrautsau added 10.
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