26 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
8 Rolands Freimanis (Muratbey Usak Sportif) (photo: Lorand Szilagyi)
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Round of 16 preview: Muratbey Usak Sportif v CSM CSU Oradea

USAK (FIBA Europe Cup) – CSM CSU Oradea scored a big win for Romanian basketball, defeating Muratbey Usak Sportif by double figures in the first leg of the FIBA Europe Cup Round of 16, but will need another solid performance in Turkey to punch their ticket to the Quarter-Finals.

Having run away by double figures early in the game, the Romanian side rode the hot hand of Muhamed Pasalic, who scored five three-pointers and finished the game with 25 points, the rest of the way to fend off the visitors from Turkey for an 82-72 victory in Oradea.

"It was a very beautiful victory against representatives of the extremely strong and competitive Turkish league. As usual, our fans created a wonderful atmosphere, which shows once again that not only the team, but the entire basketball community in Oradea loves this European adventure," Oradea's coach Cristian Achim rejoiced.

The mood wasn't as upbeat in the Usak camp. The Turkish club will need to win the home leg by more than 11 points to claim an overall victory in the tie and make it through to the next stage.

"I tip my hat to Oradea, because they played well," said Usak's top scorer D'Angelo Harrison, who had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals in the first encounter. "We locked Branko Mirkovic and Martin Zeno, but Pasalic played one of his best games of the season. We made a lot of mistakes and they counted in the result of the game. We have to try to beat them by more than 10 points at home."

Three-point shooting was the key to success for the Cristian Achim-coached Romanian team, who went 12-of-26 from beyond the arc and their Turkish opponents simply couldn't keep up.

"We had a great shooting night. I want to congratulate my players, because they achieved a great victory for Romanian basketball. However, nothing is decided after this game, we have to go to Turkey and repeat this performance to have a chance to advance," Oradea's play-caller told the media after the game.

While coach Achim's players will once again have the green light to fire from range in the return leg, yet it might be difficult to replicate the 46% three-point shooting in the away leg in Turkey and one of the team's leaders Sean Denison knows it's not going to be easy in Usak.

"We have a nice advantage, but I bet they will be ready for us in the second game. It will be a battle. We must stay focused and take it one game at a time," the big man looked ahead to Wednesday's clash.