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EuroView: Motum and Madgen firing in Lithuania
With the European basketball season now well underway, we take a look at 5 Aussie men who have lit it up in the first few weeks of the competition.
In the Lithuanian national league, Zalgiris Kaunas took on Pieno Zvaigzdes in what was a close game from start to finish. Through the first half of play, both teams continued to trade the lead, however Zalgiris took the slight edge heading into halftime up 49-45.
In the second half both teams stayed close, tied at 64 a piece going into the final frame of action. From there, Zalgiris started piling on the points, outscoring the opposition 22-18 in the final quarter of play that ultimately saw Zalgiris to come out with the 86-82 win.
Brock Motum had an excellent showing, scoring 14 points on an efficient 6/8 shooting from the field and 1/1 from behind the arc, despite seeing only 15 minutes of action.
Still in Lithuania, Ben Madgen was on fire, scoring 13 points, hauling in 6 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists while shooting an outstanding 5/6 from the field and 2/2 from behind the arc in 20 minutes of action. His stellar play was enough to enable Panevezys Lietkabelis earn a 93-74 win over Neptunas.
In the first half of play, Lietkabelis came out with something to prove. Through the first two quarters of action they led, going into the main break up 43-36. Lietkabelis continued to lead in the second half, yet Neptunas still tried to make a game of it in the final quarter of play. However it wasn’t enough as they came away losers.
Jonah Bolden made his pro debut with FMP in the Adriatic League, and he impressed in scoring 12 points (5/9 FG) and hauling in 4 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. He also showed off an improved jump shot, hitting 2/4 three-ball attempts. Now that isn’t to say he didn’t have difficulty in adjusting, as he found himself foul out in only 19 minutes of action.
While Bolden's foul trouble shouldn’t be too much of an issue as he becomes more accustomed to playing European basketball, it still was a problem for the team in his first game. It came back to hurt them in the end when they lost by just 2 points (78-76). Fellow Australian Mirko Djeric has joined Bolden on FMP's roster this season.
Tartu Ulikool Rock just came up short of their Basketball Champions League aspirations, losing to the Bakken Bears 83-70 in their last chance of qualifying, but not without first year pro Venky Jois making a valuable contribution.
Through the first half of play it was a game of tug of war, as both teams continued to trade the lead. But it was the Bakken Bears that took a one point lead into halftime, up 37-36. In the second half, Bakken started to play with more energy in outscoring Tartu 46-34 through the final two quarters of action.
Veny Jois had himself quite the game, while only scoring 6 points with 2 assists, he hauled in a monstrous 17 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. It was only his third professional game, yet he was showing out as if he’s been doing this for years.
Daryl Corletto enjoyed a night out in the British Basketball League, scoring 19 points (6/13 FG) with 4 assists and 6 boards in the Plymouth Raiders 95-66 win over Sheffield. Coming out the gates, Plymouth were the aggressors, going up 24-13 early. However the Sharks responded with a nice quarter of their own, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Their fourth quarter play was the best of the night, but by then the game was already out of reach.
Both Corletto and fellow Australian Rhys Carter made the BBL's Top 10 plays of the week.