Dnipro stun Alba Fehervar in Ukraine; Istanbul BBSK, Dinamo Sassari put one foot in the Regular Season
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – Another strong home display to begin Qualification Round 2 saw Dnipro hand Alba Fehervar an unexpectedly heavy burden for their trip back to Hungary, while Istanbul BBSK and Dinamo Sassari closed in on the Regular Season with commanding first-leg victories.
There were also double-digit wins in store for Kataja Basket, Ironi Ness Ziona, Cherkaski Mavpy, ZZ Leiden and Balkan Botevgrad, who got the better of their opponents on Wednesday.
The in-form Dnipro continued to turn heads in the Qualifiers, as they bounced back from a sluggish start to hand Alba Fehervar a 94-78 defeat in Ukraine behind another excellent performance from Oleksandr Mishula.
Despite falling behind 31-15 in the first nine minutes of the game, Dnipro turned the tide and put the visitors on the back foot with a fantastic defensive effort in the second quarter.
Having finished the night with 22 points and 7 rebounds, Mishula took care of business after the intermission as well. Pavlo Revzin went 8-of-9 from the floor for 7 points, while Stanislav Tymofeyenko added 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Jacobi Boykins collected 17 points for Alba Fehervar, while Jordan Heath and Allerik Freeman scored 15 points apiece.
Istanbul BBSK had five different players in double digits en route to a convincing 87-50 victory over Lulea, setting themselves up with a 37-point advantage for the away leg in Sweden.
After hanging around in the first quarter, the visitors fell behind in the second period after the Hakan Yavuz-coached side went a 15-5 run to increase their lead to 39-23. Things did not get better after the break, with Istanbul BBSK winning the third and fourth quarter by double figures to make it a blowout.
Terrell Holloway paced the winners with a team-high 17 points, Damian Kulig registered 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, while Ahmet Ilker Tunali posted 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Having scored 20 and 15 points respectively, Daniel Alexander and Denzel Andersson were the only Lulea players in double figures.
They said: "That was an important game for us . It is not finished yet, because we have one more game in Lulea's home court. It won't be an easy game in Sweden." – Istanbul BBSK head coach Hakan Yavuz
"Istanbul was better than us in every quarter today. They took more rebounds, were aggressive and got to the foul line because of it. They shot the ball very well from the three-point line too. They also played better defensively than us and lowered our two-point percentage a lot. We had a pretty tough night offensively." – Lulea head coach Peter Oqvist
Dinamo Sassari put SL Benfica in a difficult situation to contend for a place in the Regular Season after registering a one-sided 100-66 victory in Sardinia in the first leg.
The guests from Portugal managed to go toe to toe with their Italian hosts for the first eight minutes of the contest before losing a 22-4 stretch spanning the first and second quarters to fall out of orbit.
Rashawn Thomas paced the victors with 18 points, Scott Bamforth collected 15 points, as Jack Cooley added 13 points for Sassari, who reached the century mark in front of their fans.
Micah Downs was the only Benfica player in double figures with 21 points.
They said: "We played pretty good basketball for three quarters, though that second quarter really hurt us when they kind of jumped out and took the big lead. We think we kind of came out in that second quarter and thought we can play with them because we played well in the first and we kind of let off the gas a little bit. We know they are a good team, they got some big name players, really good coaching and that it is a tough atmosphere to play in, but we are going to take it as a learning experience and come to practice this week, try to get better and do better next time we play them." – SL Benfica forward Micah Downs
Kataja Basket took a bold step towards the Regular Season with a 106-84 victory against the visiting Rilski Sportist in Joensuu, behind 21-point efforts from Topias Palmi and Vincent Thompson.
Having shot ahead with a 15-2 start right out of the gates, the Finnish club maintained that double-digit advantage for most of the contest. A high-scoring third quarter allowed Kataja to further pad their cushion for the return leg in Bulgaria.
Ryan Wright had 18 points in the win and Rahlir Jefferson filled the boxscore with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, as the home side buried their opponents from downtown, connecting on 13-of-25 three-point attempts.
Meanwhile, the Rilski Sportist one-two punch of Arthur Edwards and Jalen Jenkins scored 24 and 20 points, respectively.
They said: "Obviously, we started the game really well. It was surprising how well we did and I am really happy for the effort. We had 29 assists, which is really good. All the players did well tonight. We still have things we can do better, but I am very satisfied." – Kataja Basket head coach Juha Sten
Turning around a 13-point deficit at home will be a tough undertaking for U-BT Cluj-Napoca after Ironi Ness Ziona inscribed a 91-78 victory in the first leg in Israel.
The Chris Dowe-led hosts pulled away with a comfortable 54 -39 halftime lead after a well-played second quarter and continued to control the events after the intermission.
The on-fire Dowe was the game's leading scorer with 26 points for Ness Ziona, Tal Dunne collected 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals, while Mickell Gladness double-doubled with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Kyndall Dyakes had a team-high 14 points and 5 assists for Cluj-Napoca, with Vlad Moldoveanu adding 13 points on efficient 5-of-8 shooting from the field.
They said: "It's always fun to play in front of your home crowd, we love this FIBA Europe Cup competition and we really want to move to the group stage, it's going to be a very difficult game next Wednesday." – Ironi Ness Ziona captain Tal Dunne
Cherkaski Mavpy continued their unbeaten run in the Qualifiers with a 75-64 win over Keravnos after outscoring the visitors by 12 points in the second half of a close-fought game.
The lead had changed hands before the Maksym Mikhelson-coached Mavpy used an 8-0 run in the middle of the third quarter to increase their lead to 53-44 and tip the scales in their favor.
Igor Chumakov had 21 points for the Ukrainian title holders, as Brandon Young added 12 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in a winning effort.
Josh Haggins headlined the Keravnos top scorers with a team-high 16 points, while LaMarcus Reed and Mohamed Abukar collected 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Darius Thompson made sure that ZZ Leiden's return to the FIBA Europe Cup was a victorious one by going off for 30 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in a 79-62 triumph over ece Kapfenberg Bulls on the road in Austria.
Having opened up a double-digit lead in the first quarter, the visitors locked it in with a powerful third quarter performance, securing a 17-point cushion for the home leg.
Dutch international Worthy DeJong went 5-of-8 from deep for 17 points and 8 rebounds for Leiden, while Kenneth Simms and Maurice Watson Jr. added 12 and 11 points, respectively. The rest of the team had just 9 points.
For the Bulls, point guard Bogic Vujosevic collected 14 points, while the trio of David Samuels, Tobias Schrittwieser and Elijah Wilson had 10 points each.
They said: "It was a pretty bad game for us and we didn't respond to the physical basketball that Leiden played today. This result is the reality now and we have to work hard for the next game." – ece Kapfenberg Bulls guard Bogic Vujosevic
"We played a great game as it was the first of this season. We wanted to win, played hard in defense and did a good job." – ZZ Leiden guard Darius Thompson
Four second-half three-pointers by Mirko Mulalic carried Balkan Botevgrad to an 86-76 victory against New Heroes Den Bosch on the road in the Netherlands.
The 30-year-old shooting guard from Slovenia caught fire after intermission and led the 17-6 charge in the fourth quarter to give the visitors a healthy 10-point cushion before the return leg in Bulgaria.
🏀 | Eerste confrontatie met BC Balkan eindigt in nederlaag. pic.twitter.com/WlqAwzeuA4— New Heroes 🏀 (@NewHeroesBB) October 3, 2018
Mulalic finished the game with 19 points, Ventislav Petkov collected 18 points, while Mikael Hopkins had his fingerprints all over the ball game with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
For New Heroes, Devon Van Oostrum had a team-high 17 points and 9 rebounds, Jonathon Williams scored 16 points, as Steven Cook chipped in with 13 points and a couple of steals.