19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
33 Drago Pasalic | Photo: Alessandro Scarpa
to read

Thursday preview: Can Donar turn things around against Reyer Venezia at MartiniPlaza?

GRONINGEN (FIBA Europe Cup) - Unbeaten at the MartiniPlaza in the FIBA Europe Cup this season, Donar Groningen will need to keep that winning streak alive if they plan on turning around the Semi-Final tie against Umana Reyer Venezia.

Having won their last two Play-Off games against U-BT Cluj-Napoca and Mornar Bar at home by a combined 54-point margin, the Erik Braal-coached Dutch champions will have their fingers crossed for another big performance.

The first game against the Reyer Venezia ended in an 82-72 defeat in Italy but Donar showed promise and went toe to toe with the title favorites for most of the game despite the second-half letdown that left them with a double-digit deficit.

"We have to make better use of our opportunities. I think we missed a total of 11 free throws in the first leg. However, I have seen enough hints for us to expect a better result at home," said Erik Braal who dismissed the first game in Venice as a bad performance but saw plenty of room for improvement.

"Everyone was impressed by the atmosphere in the arena, which was fantastic. It was fantastic to see that so many supporters from Groningen made the trip with us as well."

The atmosphere is expected to be just as electric at the MartiniPlaza, which will once again be sold out for the second game of the Semi-Finals. The demand for tickets in Groningen was so high, it even forced the online ticket selling website to crash.

"In a sold-out house with our fans behind us, we get a lot of extra energy. We have nothing to lose on our own court and we are ready for the game. 10 points is certainly not insurmountable," Brandyn Curry chimed in.

Heading to Groningen with a double-digit lead, Reyer Venezia have already been in an identical situation against Nizhny Novgorod in the Quarter-Finals when they also won the first leg by 10 points.

With a spot in the title series on the lines, the Italians are taking nothing for granted and are well aware of Donar's excellent home form.

"Reaching the Final of the FIBA Europe Cup would be a historic result," said Reyer Venezia's assistant coach Gianluca Tucci before the return meeting.

"We will play away from home in front of a good crowd. We have to be focused from the get-go and pay attention on the floor, particularly their three-point shooting. We have to be cautious in every way possible, because they have players who can be devastating."

Although Reyer Venezia hold a 10-point advantage after the first 40 minutes of play, the pendulum can still swing both ways in the tie. Can Donar get the job done again in front of their own fans and turn it around?

Donar Groningen v Umana Reyer Venezia

Time: Thursday, 19:30 CET
Domestic Form: Donar Groningen cruised to a 70-46 victory over Aris Leeuwarden to stay in pole position with a 24-4 mark in the Dutch Basketball League. Second-placed Reyer Venezia defeated third-placed Brescia 68-61 on Sunday to improve to a 20-6 record in the Italian championship, staying within a single game of table leaders Olimpia Milano.
First Leg: Umana Reyer Venezia +10 (82-72)
Key Matchup: MarQuez Haynes emerged as the victor in the point guard battle in the first game, limiting Brandyn Curry to just 6 points on 3-of-11 shooting while going for 12 points and 7 assists himself. The spotlight will once again be on these two players, with Curry looking to bounce back strong at home.
Live Stream: YouTube.com/FIBA