The 2012 Euroleague season saw it’s first competition yesterday as two qualifying round games were contested. At stake is one slot in Group A of the Euroleague, the seven other teams will go home to their previously arranged schedule, the winner will be thrust into some of the best competition anywhere.
CEZ Basketball Nymburk – Telenet Oostende 83-65
In the opening contest Czech Republic champion CEZ Basketball Nymburk advanced to the second round with a decisive victory over Belgian champions Telenet Oostende, who will now enter the 2012-13 EuroCup.
A quick glance at the stats from this game show that in most categories this was a close game, until you get to the three-point category, where Nymburk dominated 12 for 26 (46.2%) to 3 for 14 (21.4%). One stat the Belgians shined in was at the charity stripe where they shot 22 for 27 (81.5%), compared to Nymburk’s 64.7% (11 for 17). Of note, Dusan Katnic sank 12 of 14 free throws on his way to a 14-point performance.
The two squads played to a 22-all tie through the first 10-minutes and Nymburk held a one point advantage at the intermission, 44-43. After an early run by the Czech’s to build a six-point margin mid-way through the third frame, the Belgians went on a seven-point run of their own to take a slim lead. Nymburk battled back to put a bit of distance between them and their competitors going into the fourth, 68-82.
Nymburk took off on a 12-2 run to open the final period and Oostende didn’t find the bottom of the net until deep in the fifth minute. The fight was gone for the Belgians and Nymburk sealed their trip to round two winning the last 10 minutes with a 15-3 advantage to close the contest out at 83-65.
Leading the way for Nymburk was Adrian Abrams with 15 points, Peter Benda added 14 points, Mike Taylor contributed 13, Miljan Pavkovic dropped in 10, and Pavel Houska tallied nine points and 11 rebounds. Oostende got 16 points from Matthew Lojeski, 14 points each from Brent Wright and Katnic.
The win sends Nymburk to round two against host team Pallacanestro Cantu who beat PBC Lukoil Academic Sofia in their opening contest.
Pallacanestro Cantu – PBC Lukoil Academic Sofia 87-79
Looking to return to the Euroleague after their first venture back to the league since 1994, Cantu got past their first hurdle in Lukoil Academic Sofia in front of a home crowd of an estimated 3,000 fans. They’ll now match-up with CEZ Basketball Nymburk on Thursday in round 2.
As was the case in game 1, the two teams battled to even scores at the end of the both quarters in the first half. Cantu held a slim 26-25 lead after the first and had the same one-point advantage at the break, 48-47. Sofia built a seven point margin early in the second quarter, only to be countered with a 10-2 run by the hosts.
In the third the contests was a game of who could put together the longest scoring run as Cantu built an early advantage, then Sofia put a 9-0 run together of their own to take a small lead, only to have the hosts tally a 9-0 lead of their own to head into the fourth quarter with a 64-60 advantage.
Cantu was able to extend their margin to as much as nine early in the final frame, but Sofia battled back to within four, 83-79, with 45 seconds to play. Unfortunately for Sofia, they wouldn’t find the net again and their hopes of heading back to the Euroleague for the first time since the 1976-77 season were dashed.
Alexander Tyus-Cecchini paced the hosts with 18 points, Manuchar Markoishvili added 15, Jerry Smith contributed 13 points and seven rebounds, and Pietro Aradori and Marco Cusin dropped in 12 apiece. Sofia got 21 points from Brandon Heath, 18 points and 15 total rebounds from Darryl Watkins, 14 points from Bozhidar Avramov.
Schedule Wed., September 26th:
18:00 Unics Kazan (Russia) vs. Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany) (QR1A)
20:45 Le Mans Sarthe Basket (France) vs. BC Donetsk (Ukraine) (QR1B)