Beşiktaş looks to open door to next round

Beşiktaş looks to open door to next round

Beşiktaş looks to open door to next round

Beşiktaş guard Patrick Christopher slam dunks during his team’s comfortable opening-day victory over Partizan in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The Turkish champion is on a 3-2 winning record and looks on course to advance to the next round in the top-level European club basketball competition. AA photo

Beşiktaş will try to open the door to the Top 16 stage with a win at Partizan in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.

The Black Eagles are on a 3-2 winning record and trail the likes of heavy favorites Barcelona Regal and CSKA Moscow in the Group D. With Brose Baskets following with 2-3 and Lietuvos Rytas with 1-5, Beşiktaş can put itself out of reach with a win. Partizan has lost all its five matches in the group and will play for survival.

The Serbians will look to avenge an 81-65 defeat in the first week and to take a first win of the season.

Despite the winless record, there is little doubt that coach Dusko Vujosevic’s side has sufficient talent to contend with Beşiktaş. Leo Westermann has the vision to provide a steady number of assists for the likes of Vladimir Lucic and Dejan Musli inside. Forward Davis Bertans has shot over 50% from behind the arc, giving an outside threat for Beşiktaş guards Curtis Jerrells and Serhat Çetin to close down.
A former Partizan player, Jerrells is red hot at the moment, ranking second in the Euroleague for points with 18.6 per game. Patrick Christopher was one of the standouts in the first ever between these two sides, scoring 25 points.

Also in the group, Barcelona Regal visits Brose Baskets and Lietuvos Rytas hosts CSKA Moscow.
Another Turkish team, Fenerbahçe Ülker, will try to bounce back from a bitter loss, when it plays against BC Khimki.

Fenerbahçe Ülker slipped to third spot with a heavy 82-58 rout at the hands of Mapooro Cantu.
Real Madrid leads Group A with four wins in five matches, while Russia’s Khimki follows with a 3-2 record.

Panathinaikos, with 2-3, hosts Real Madrid while Union Olimpija takes on Mapooro Cantu in the tight group.

Khimki coach Rimas Kurtinaitis refused that his team is the favorite over Fenerbahçe.
“I still consider Fenerbahçe Ülker as one of the contenders for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four,” he said to the competition’s website. “Now the team of [Simone] Pianigiani strongly depends on Bo McCalebb. If he is in good health, every opponent will have problems.”

“As I have already said, Fenerbahçe Ülker has good players with the mentality of winners and a great coach, it’s a very serious rival. It will be a tough match but we will try to clinch the game and improve our standings in the group,” he added.

Also in the Euroleague, it is Asseco Prokom vs. Elan CHalon, Maccabi Electra vs. Unicaja Malaga and Alba Berlin vs. Montepaschi Siena in the Group B.

Tonight’s only game in the Group C will be between Cedevita Zagreb and Zalgiris Kaunas. Tomorrow, Anadolu Efes hosts EA7 Armani and Caja Laboral plays Olympiacos in the group.