Wednesday preview: Moment of truth for Bakken Bears and Sidigas Avellino
The tie is still hanging in the balance and is way too close to call after a hard-fought battle in Italy last week only yielded the Stefano Sacripanti-coached Avellino a one-possession lead.
Despite leading big in the second half, they had to settle for a marginal 75-72 victory after a ferocious fourth-quarter fightback by the Bears, who even had a chance to bring things level but a last-second three-point attempt by Darko Jukic fell short.
Having closed out the first leg with excellent energy, Bakken Bears will be trying to pick up where they left off. According to Avellino man-in-charge Sacripanti, the key for his side will be matching the intensity levels.
"It will be important to play with energy. We're going to play on a court where the Danish will be playing the game of their life, and we hope to play a good game, too," the Italian playcaller stressed.
"I think we will have to be very good at executing our game plan. We mustn't look at the score and have to make the right plays at the right time."
For Bakken Bears, being close after the first game is where they wanted to be. Throughout the season, they have been particularly good in tight situations, with a league-best three overtime wins and a couple of close calls in the Second Round.
"I hope it isn't as close as last Wednesday. I hope we win big. Our success in close games boils down to a blend of luck, good fitness and laser focus," offered the team's guard Adama Darboe, also a member of the Danish national team, breaking down the formula.
"Of course, we do not want to play for a close game. That's how things can go wrong. But if it's close down the stretch, I think we have a good starting point. As I said, there's also an element of luck and we have used a lot of it already."
Time: Wednesday, 18:30 CET
Domestic Form: Bakken Bears are coming into the FIBA Europe Cup battle, fresh off winning a do-or-die game against Team FOG Naestved 100-84 to close the gap to 2-1 in the Semi-Finals in Denmark. Sidigas Avellino destroyed Pesaro 103-81 in the Italian championship to stay in 4th place with a 17-9 record.
First Leg: Sidigas Scandone Avellino +3 (75-72)
Key Matchup: After putting up 28 points in an explosive first-leg performance against Bakken Bears, Avellino shooting guard Jason Rich was at it again in the domestic championship, needing just 22 minutes to get his tally to 31 points in a convincing win over Pesaro. He will be going up against DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, who broke out of his slump with a 28-point, 6-rebound and 8-assist game in Denmark over the weekend.
Live Stream: YouTube.com/FIBA