The field of 32 is set for EuroChallenge 2013 as Gaz Metan Media of Romania, Tofas SC of Estonia, Joensuum Kataja of Finland, and Apollon of Cyprus all earned places with victories in their two-game series yesterday. All four teams will open competition with home contests on November 6th.
Ural Ekaterinburg (RUS) – Gaz Metan Media (ROU) 92-97 (171-174) at Ekaterinburg (RUS)
The hosts held a slim two-point advantage coming into game two and weren’t able to hold on as the Romanians took the series with a three-point margin after a high scoring contest, 97-92.
This game lived up to it’s potential as it was tight all the way through, but Gaz Metan led the entire game with the exception of 50 seconds in the first four minutes of the first quarter and the for the first minute of the game when it was 0-0. At the end of the first quarter the visitors led by five, 20-15, and at the half they held a four-point margin 42-28. The Romainians extended their lead by six, outscoring Ekaterinburg 26-20 in the third, to head into the fourth quater up 68-58.
Gaz Metan built a substantial 14-point margin in the fourth quarter with 6:45 to play, but then found themselves only up by three after an Anton Glazunov triple with nine seconds to play. Paul Graham was fouled immediately and missed both free throws, but Michael St. John was able to snag the offensive rebound. Graham was fouled again with five seconds remaining and iced the game his second time to the line by dropping in both charity tosses to round out the scoring and padding their slim margin of victory in the series with a 97-92 win
Graham’s 26 led the Romanians, Slobodan Dundjerski added 19 points and Ivan Ivanovic contributed 18 to the win. Glazunov poured in 26 for Ekaterinburg, Dmitrii Nikolaev added 22 and Christopher Monroe tallied 21.
EuroChallenge 2013 Group D (BC Khimik Yuzhne, Tartu University and JDA Dijon Basket) will welcome Gaz Metan with their first game on Nov. 6th.
Tofas SC (EST) – Rakvere Tarvas (TUR) 79-76 (185-152) at Bursa (TUR)
Tofas SC took their 30-point advantage on the road yesterday to finalize their Group A slot. The hosts put on a much better showing, especially defensively, by holding Tofas to under 80 points, but still came out on the short end of a 79-76 decision.
The Turks jumped out to a quick lead in this contest, taking a 25-18 led into the second quarter. That margin was erased within a minute of play when they resumed as Tofas knocked off five straight. The the end of the half, they visitors had knocked the board at 35. Rakvere was able to get up by five numerous times in the third frame, but just couldn’t shake the Estonians and the rest of the contest was a mere formality as the initial deficit was just too much to overcome.
The win sends Tofas into EuroChallenge 2013 Group A with Krka Novo Mesto, Michelin ETHA and Pinar Karsiyaka.
Austin Nichols led the Estonian scorers with 14 points, Steven Burtt added 13, and Joshua Heytvelt contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds to the victory. Juris Umbrasko dropped in 17 points in the loss for Rakvere, Reimo Tamm and Maris Laksa tallied 13 points a piece.
Aliaga Petkim (TUR) – Joensuum Kataja (FIN) 64-77 (134-159) at Izmir (TUR)
Joensumm Kataja will enter Group B competition after a convincing 13-point win on the road to add to their 12-point victory at home last week. They will join Krasnye Krylia, Keravnos Strovolou and CSI Asesoft Ploiesti in the first round of EuroChallenge 2013.
The two clubs exchanged the lead a throughout the first quarter, with the Turks coming out with a one-point advantage after the first 10-minutes, 22-21. Petkim was able to extend their margin to nine with 5:32 to play in the half, putting them just three down overall, but their hopes were dashed in two quick minutes as the Fins rattled off eight unanswered, to pull to within one, 32-31. By the intermission the gap had grown to four, 38-34.
Kataja put the competition away in the second frame, outscoring their hosts 23-14 and then coasting in with a 16-16 tie in the last 10-minutes to nail down a place in the Group B schedule.
Jermaine Flowers led all scorers with 21 and added nine rebounds to the win for the Finnish squad. Orhan Haciyeva led the Aliaga Petkim effort with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Apollon (CYP) – Xion Dukes (AUT) 96-90 (174-160) at Limassol (CYP)
Apollon came into game two with an eight-point advantage and earned a slot in EuroChallenge 2013 Group G with a 96-90 win that gave them a 14-point margin of victory.
Xion jumped out to an early lead and had covered the spread, but sputtered in the last minutes of the first quarter to allow the Pizza Express squad to take a 31-20 lead after the first 10-minutes.
The visitors found their game in the second quarter though and bounced back to within one at the half 50-49. The Dukes got up by as much as six in the third, but the Cypriots took control late in the quarter and carried a five-point advantage into the final frame.
Xion wasn’t going to go down without a fight though and after giving up the first two points of the quarter, reeled off 10 straight, to go from seven down to up by three (83-80) with 6:53 to play. With 3:39 remaining the gap was still three in favor of the Austrians, but the hosts’ Daryl Dorsey took over and knocked down eight in the last three minutes to help book a slot in the EuroChallenge Group G schedule.
Dorsey paced Apollon with 24 points, Brandon Brown added 23 points and 10 rebounds. Christoph Nagler led the Dukes with 17 points and Jason Chappell tallied 16 points and nine rebounds.