By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Powered by Rashard Kelly, JDA Dijon held on to defeat VEF Riga, 83-79, to sweep the Basketball Champions League best-of-three Play-In series Friday.
Kelly, 26, scored eight points in the first quarter and went on registering a team-high 20 points behind 8/13 field goals at Arena Riga. The Wichita State product pulled down ten rebounds and made four steals as well.
Khadeen Carrington had 16 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals in Riga, Latvia. Youngster Robin Ducote added 13 points.
Besides missing Joshiko Saibou, leader David Holston bothered by a leg injury was limited to 2/10 field goals. A poor shooting night, but he ended up with six points and eight assists being influential on both ends. With the former Chicago State standout on the court, his side enjoyed a ten-point edge.
Controlling the boards and banking in 23 points off turnovers, the visitors never trailed in Game 2. After creating a double-digit distance early in the second half, the French side failed to deliver an early knockout punch but closing out the game with effective defense sealed the deal.
Jalen Riley paired 23 points with eight assists but was responsible for nine of the 16 team turnovers. Veteran forward Maris Gulbis followed with 18 points. Foul trouble slowed both leading scorers down the stretch. Alexander Madsen remained sidelined for the Latvia champions.
Ludwigsburg, Galatasaray, Hapoel Holon, and Dijon
The team coached by Nenad Markovic completed Group I of the Round of 16. Coming up, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, Galatasaray Nef, and Hapoel U-NET Holon in a double-legged round-robin schedule awarding two berths to the quarterfinals.
On the opposite end, the team guided by Janis Gailitis wrapped up its third BCL campaign. A 14-1 record paints the current dominating picture in the Latvian-Estonian League.
Postgame press conference:
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League