Romania – After four rounds in the preliminaries of the regular season at Romania’s Liga Nationala. Five teams stand tall, but none are unscathed as they have identical 3-1 records. The latest team to suffer its first loss was Steaua CSM, which now joins Oradea, Craiova, Ploiesti and CSU Sibiu in that upper pack. Expect all of those teams to fight hard to hold on to the top spots of the standings. Meanwhile CS Farul Constanta and CS Concordia Chiajna are at the bottom of the standings, still winless at 0-4. It’s an uphill climb, but both clubs should try to claw their way from the cellar.
Steaua CSM vs. Pitesti, 55-67
Pitesti fought through via a balanced attack from its starters and it was an advantage at the free-throw line that spelled the difference in this match as the visiting team knocked down 14 of their 22 attempts versus only eight sank by Steaua CSM. Croatian Pankracije Barac led four other teammates in double-digit scoring with 17 points, three assists and two steals. Ken Tutt added 12 markers, while Ante Krapic and Ousmane Barro added 11 points apiece.
Steaua CSM had the lead and were up by five after the first quarter, but lost their advantage after that and could not recover. Ivan Bosnjak was the lone player who was able to score in double digits for Steaua CSM with 11. No other player could take on the mantle to be the go-to scorer for the night, nor could they execute cleanly thanks to 15 turnovers for the game.
Timba Timisoara vs. Rovinari, 70-87
David Lawrence (200 cm, Charleston’07) had 20 points and six rebounds for Timba Timisoara, but it was not enough to lift the home team to victory versus Rovinari. The home team had a three-point lead at the end of the first frame, but by the second quarter Rovinari put on a rally to move ahead by five. Fellow American import Richard Delk (193 cm, Troy’10) added 18 points and was a strong force on offense making nine of his 14 attempts from two-point range. Serbian Marjan Tasic (205 cm) added 14 markers for Timba Timisoara, but a three-pronged attack was not enough to sustain a full-game onslaught. The reserves did not show up and could not provide any solid support for the starting crew.
Rovinari managed to have four of its players reach double figures and were led by the 25 points of Louis Darby (196 cm, Long Beach State’07), who also knocked down three long-bombs, grabbed four boards and got two steals for the game. Giordan Watson (178 cm, Central Michigan’08) took care of business in the backcourt, adding 19 points and five dimes for the winners. Tal Karpels (195 cm) was a bright spot off their bench as he chipped in a 14-point effort. What stood out in the game was the effort of rookie Will Reinke (208 cm, Oklahoma Christian’13), who was impressive grabbing 12 boards and taking 4 steals. His defensive presence in the paint was one of the factors that helped stifle the home team.