Pınar Karşıyaka stuns Barcelona, Darüşşafaka wins in Euroleague debuts
AA PhotoTwo Turkish clubs made glorious starts to their first-ever Turkish Airlines Euroleague campaigns on Oct. 15, with Pınar Karşıyaka beating 71-62 at home over twice-former winner Barcelona and Darüşşafaka Doğuş vanquishing Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 83-74.
Having beaten more fancied local rivals to win the Turkish top flight Beko Basketball League title last season, Karşıyaka continued to punch above its weight against formidable opposition despite losing some of its top players in the off season.
Forward Colton Iverson racked up 16 points and eight rebounds as the home side pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Barcelona 25-11.
“It’s an unbelievable win for us,” the İzmir club’s coach, Ufuk Sarıca, said after the game.
“I told my players before the game that it would not be easy for us. They are a really big club, with many, very experienced players. But we are a good team, and with our fans, we can beat anybody,” he added.
Karşıyaka’s Justin Carter praised the club fans. “We played hard. We are at home, we got great fans,” he said. “We just have to play hard. We know they are a tough team to play; they have a great system, great coach, great players. We just played our system, played hard, and held the home-court advantage.”
In Istanbul, Darüşşafaka Doğuş completed a memorable night for Turkey with an 83-74 overtime home win against Italians Dinamo Sassari.
The victory came with tough fight rather than good play, according to Darüşşafaka coach Oktay Mahmuti.
“We must be honest. We did not play great basketball,” he said. “We showed a great effort, which is very important. We struggled a lot, especially offensively. We had a lot of open shots, and we missed them. But at the end, we fought, we tried to get to victory and maybe luck helped us a little bit, and in the end we won, which is really good for us.”
Darüşşafaka’s Emir Preldzic said he and his teammates were nervous at the beginning of the game.
“In the second half we competed better, we were fighting on defense,” he said. “Our defense was very good today, but offense – we still have to work on it. Yes, we scored 83 points, but our game wasn’t that good, so we need to improve that. This game was very important to start with victory; now we have to keep going like this.”