Karsiyaka, Beroe one step closer to Regular Season after first-leg wins in Qualifiers
MUNICH (Germany) - The new FIBA Europe Cup season tipped off with two first-leg fixtures in the Qualifiers in Stara Zagora and Boras, with Beroe and Pinar Karsiyaka taking a step towards securing Regular Season berths.
Turkish side Pinar Karsiyaka began their campaign with a 77-70 victory against Boras and set themselves up with a seven-point cushion for next week's return leg in Izmir.
Before the game, the head coach of the home team Henrik Svensson labeled Karsiyaka one of the best basketball teams to play in Sweden over the past 20 years and the visitors backed his words by leading all the way end to end.
Despite trailing all the time, the brave Swedish side fought to the bitter end and even had a possession to take the lead, but the more experienced Turkish side prevailed.
The winners were carried by Jordan Morgan who had 19 points and 9 rebounds, while Tony Taylor added 17 points. Marcus Tyus led the home team and all scorers with 20 points.
Meanwhile, Beroe made big step towards Group Stage with an impressive 86-71 victory against Dutch side ZZ Leiden in Stara Zagora.
Although the final score may suggest otherwise, it was a very close affair until the middle of the third period. Tayler Persons made a three-pointer to put the guests up 60-58, but it was the last they saw of the lead.
Since that moment Lyubo Minchev's side held visitors without a score for more than two minutes, taking a commanding lead and holding it to the end. The final 15-point margin was the largest that Beroe had all night and will surely bring confidence before the series moves to Leiden, where the Dutch side will seek to overcome a double-digit deficit in front of their passionate home crowd.
Beroe's shooting guard Austin Price led four double-digit scorers with 24 points and six made three-pointers. Reigarvius Williams (21 points) and Persons (19) did most of the work for visitors, but they lacked help from their teammates.