Don’t look now but we have some Euroleague Basketball! We’re nipping at the heels of the regular season but first as a nice appetizer we have the qualifying round. There are eight teams split up into 2 brackets each containing four teams. These teams will play a 2 game first round series and the winners will move on to play in a deciding series to find out who will play in the Euroleague Regular Season. Let’s take a look at what happened on Day One:
Nikos Hatzivrettas- Enough can’t be said about last second three pointers, especially in the opening game of the season. Aris BSA 2003 vs. Maroussi BC was the tip-off game for the qualifying round and Hatzivrettas made it one to remember as he nailed a three pointer with his team down by 1 with just 0.4 seconds left. Pandemonium broke out for the home team, Aris, as they look to parlay this momentous shot into a series win. It can also be pointed out that these are two Greek League teams, so this could be a season long matchup to look out for.
Aaron Pettway- Welcome to the qualifying round Mr. Pettway. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy dominated Benetton Basket Treviso today by pouring in 20 points to go along with 17 rebounds. He missed two shots all night, while adding 3 blocks, and coming away with a total ranking of 38. This was a close game that BK Ventspils won 78-73. Without an effort like that out of Pettway, Ventspils might be looking at a one game hole, but instead are up one game and heading to Treviso on Friday to finish up the series.
Marc Salyers- Someone had an appetite today because Marc Salyers looked hungry to get back to the Euroleague. After playing in the Euroleague for Chorale Roanne in the 2007-2008 and participating in the French League last year, Salyers showed his scoring ability against Alba Berlin by putting up 28 points in a 1 point win for Le Mans. This is the same guy who put up 40 points against his former team Fenerbache Ulker in 2007, so when he wants something he’s going to go out and get it. The 1 point win though means that Le Mans basically has to win again in Berlin Friday to advance to the next round.
Spirou Basket vs. Entente Orleanaise- Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy close games. Just not when the score is 55-53. A quote from Spirou Basket head coach Giovanni Bozzi sums up everything, “I’m not very satisfied tonight by the final score.” Keep in mind that Bozzi’s team won the game. That’s how ugly it was. Each team shot under 40% from 3 point land and combined for 37 turnovers. Let’s hope we can see some more offense on Friday.
Davor Kus- 20 minutes, 2 points, 0 assists, 3 turnovers, and a -6 ranking was how Davor Kus started out his Euroleague season. This is not what Benetton wants from the veteran guard, who will have to have a big game back in Treviso to salvage this series. Benetton looked to be the most talented team in their group coming into the qualifying round, but their fortunes changed when Davor didn’t show up.
Kostas Kaimakoglou- Where Nikos Hatzivrettas flourished, Kostas Kaimakoglou faltered. With just a minute left Kaimakolgou missed two free throws that could have put his Maroussi team up by 3. No one scored again until Hatzivrettas’s last second shot, and just scroll to the top of the page if you forgot what happened with that.