With methodical precision, Besitas Cola Turka became the first undefeated team in the history of ULEB Cup regular seasons when it defeated visiting Elan Chalon 78-55 on Tuesday to win Group B with a 10-0 record. Besiktas guaranteed that it will play second-leg home games during the first two elimination rounds, if it advances through the first. Elan Chalon, meanwhile, finished 5-5 and snuck into the elimination rounds as one of the best five fourth-place teams overall. Besiktas used a 12-0 first-quarter run to take control and handled double-digit leads throughout the second half. Kaya Peker again paced the winners with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Preston Shumpert followed him with 16 points, while Christian Dalmau combined 15 with 7 assists and 3 steals. Chalon, which got no closer than 31-28 late in the second quarter, was led by Darrel Mitchell, who scored 13 points. Moussa Badiane added 11 and 7 rebounds while Rolan Roberts chipped in 10 points.
Clearly motivated by the idea of becoming the one and only team to ever finish the ULEB Cup's first round unbeaten, Besiktas started the game with extra concentration as Shumpert hit a triple and Peker followed him for a 5-0 start. Chalon missed all its shots from behind the arc all in the first quarter (0-6) but Besiktas found gold on 4 of its own 8 attempts to mark early differences on the scoreboard. After Badiane dunked to keep Chalon as close as 10-7, Besiktas reeled off a 12-0 series filled with 3 triples from Dalmau. The Besiktas defense held Chalon scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Xavier Corosine's basket ended the first quarter at 22-9. Dalmau was up to 11 points and 4 assists when he scored to make it 26-17 early in the second quarter. Chalon chose that moment to fight back with a 0-8 run over 3 minutes. Philippe Braud's jumper midway through the quarter made the score 29-20. Another run of 2-8 reduced the gap to just 3 points from what had been 17 points not long before as Mitchell's triple made the score 31-28. But Besiktas responded with a 7-0 blast of its own, on 4 points from Peker and a triple from Shumpert, and ended the first half leading by double digits again, 38-28. It was an impressive start once again for Besiktas in the second half, a 6-1 run fed by several Chalon turnovers. Shumpert made it 46-32 then, before Peker's consecutive layups and a free throw from Sinan Guler broke the game open at 51-32. Jermaine Guice hit a three-pointer for Chalon, but Shumpert answered with another triple and Peker a jumper that helped Besiktas move into the last quarter ahead by 56-39. Both sides relaxed, but Chalon failed to catch the home team because of a great number of misses and turnovers. With 5 minutes left, after Sandro Nicevic hit free throws, Besiktas moved 21 points ahead, 69-48. Rick Apodaca's 5 points in a row soon made it 76-53 and it was clear the Besiktas had done what no other ULEB Cup team before could, move into the second round with a 10-0 record.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Gokhan Ture, Istanbul