Eurochallenge quarter final stage begins

The Eurochallenge quarter-final stage is underway as four games took place on Tuesday evening. The round opened with plenty of drama on the court as the teams vie for a place in the Final Four.


It proved to be a good start for Tartu Rock as the team closed a narrow home win against Szolnoki Olaj to take a 1-0 lead in their best of three series. Also tasting success in game 1 was Reggio Emilia after the Italian club picked up a 75-63 win over current champs Krasnye Krylia. Royal Hali Gaziantep narrowly maintained its unbeaten record since the Regular Season by seeing out Tsmoki Minsk 59-58 at home. In the final game Triumph Lyubertsy traveled to Ural Ekaterinburg and collected the only road win of the night (72-80).

Tartu Rock vs. Szolnoki Olaj, 87-83
Estonian club Tartu Rock held on in the final minutes of the game to take a 1-0 lead over Szolnoki Olaj in Game 1 of the series. The hosts used a 16-4 run in the second frame to hold a 47-35 advantage at the halftime buzzer. Tanel Karbus gave Tartu a solid base with his 19 point haul and with less than nine minutes on the clock the score stood at 72-55. The difference remained at 17 points, but with the game looking secure the team inexplicably collapsed and allowed Olaj to reel off 16 unanswered points. However, despite the Hungarians getting close Tartu held on to take early command of the series.

Reggio Emilia vs. Krasnye Krylia, 75-63
Reggio Emilia´s Eurochallenge season is gathering pace after the Italian club took out current champions Krasnye Krylia in a surprisingly comfortable home win. The hosts cruised through the first half as Ariel Filloy bookended a 14-2 run with two scores from beyond the arc. Emilia surged to a 37-29 halftime lead and extended to double figures during the third quarter. However, Krasnye showed their championship quality by hitting back and cutting the 14 point lead until the scoreboard read 56-56 with just five minutes left. The home team found another gear down the stretch and won the last five minutes 19-7 to survive a late scare and take the victory.

Royal Hali Gaziantep vs. Tsmoki Minsk, 59-58
Turkish club Royal Hali Gaziantep produced a monumental comeback to maintain its current run in the Eurochallenge and defeat Minsk 59-58 at home. The club was the only unbeaten team during the Second Stage and is now sitting on a seven game streak. However, on this occasion the Royal Hali players were made to work hard for their victory. Tsmoki started the game in hot form and the visitors carved open an 18-7 lead in the first quarter and from there dominated much of the game. In fact the halftime score was 32-12 in favour of the away team. It had been a terrible first half from Gaziantep as the hosts scored just 12 points, so in many ways the only way was up. And up the Turkish team went as the players slowly chipped away at the Minsk lead throughout the third and fourth quarters. The home team took the lead for the first time with just 42 seconds left and maintained it during a tense finale to claim the initiative in the series after a 21 point comeback.

Ural Ekaterinburg vs. Triumph Lyubertsy, 72-80
Triumph Lyubertsy picked up the only road win of the Eurochallenge quarter-final game 1 stage by shocking Russian club Ural Ekaterinburg. The visitors commanded the first half and by time the teams went into the locker room at halftime Triumph had possession of a 33-42 lead and had led by as much as 13 in the second frame. In the second half Ural found touch at the basket and scored 25 to 19 through the third quarter. Despite it going close through the final stanza Lyubertsy found enough net to put the game beyond the hosts.

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