Kataja and Leiden overcome first-leg deficits at home; Karsiyaka win big in Izmir
MUNICH (Germany) - The Regular Season of FIBA Europe Cup 2019-20 campaign is all set after the last five vacancies were filled by BC Dnipro, Kataja, Pinar Karsiyaka, U-BT Cluj-Napoca and ZZ Leiden, who finished conquering the Qualifiers on Wednesday.
Kataja did more than enough to overcome a six point first-leg deficit by taking the second game in Finland 99-87 against Tartu Ulikooli from Estonia to advance to the Group Phase. Tartu trailed by as many as 19 points, but did make it interesting towards the end of the game.
But the Finnish team held their nerves, made some free throws to secure their six point win on aggregate.
Jarred Jackson (23 points, 12 assists), Brandon Walters (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Jarekious Bradley (18 points, 7 boards) did most of the work. On the other side, Martynas Mazeika had a game-high 24 points, but it wasn't enough.
Having come home with a 25-point lead from the first leg in Mogilev, Dnipro cruised to an 81-71 victory on their home floor to seal the deal in the tie against Borisfen, with all 12 players getting some action. Maksym Zakurdaiev led the way with 15 points for the winners, while Brian Tolefree posted 21 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists for the visitors.
U-BT Cluj-Napoca proved too much for European newcomers Rahoveci back in Kosovo and doubled down in front of their own crowd in Romania, as they registered a 44-point win 91-47. The Romanian side had twelve different scorers, with Andrii Kalnichenko leading with 17 points. Jure Gunjina (14 points) was the best player for Rahoveci in both legs.
Pinar Karsiyaka were the favorites in both legs against Boras, and they have proved their status, but Swedish side didn't go down without fight. The Turkish powerhouse prevailed 78-58 in Izmir for comfortable 27-point win on aggregate.
Brandon Triche had 18 points for the winners, and Amath M'Baye added 16. Marcus Tyus had 14 points for visitors.
The last game of Qualifiers offered all the drama. ZZ Leiden needed to erase a 15-point deficit from the first leg against Beroe, and led by that exact margin at the end of regulation (92-77) to force overtime, where the home side did get the job done after all, as they came out with a 108-86 victory.
The aggregate score (179-172) shows who evenly matched these two teams were, but Leiden prevailed thanks to a 27-point effort from Braxton Huggins, and 25 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists from Worthy De Jong. Tayler Persons chipped in with a 19-point and 12-assist double-double, while Reigarvius Williams filled box score with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists.
Austin Price had double-double for Beroe with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough.