Besiktas win 2012 Eurochallenge

A double-double from Pops Mensah-Bonsu helped Besiktas win the 2012 Eurochallenge with a 91-86 victory over Elan Chalon in Debrecen, Hungary.

The Great Britain star led all scorers with 26 points plus a game-high 20 rebounds to scoop MVP honours and helped by 25 points and 15 rebounds from Zoran Erceg, the two combined for 35 boards out of the 47 in total as the French side had no answer.

“I know Chalon very well from my last season,” Mensah-Bonsu said. “We knew they are a physical team and that they play great as a team. Our goal was to come in early in the game and stay focused. To have won against such a good team makes the victory even sweeter.”

Based on Friday’s games, Elan Chalon would of fancied their chances against Besiktas who were the pre-tournament favourites. The Turks were not even near their best against Szolnoki Olaj but they did what champions do: they grinded a result out.

And they did the same in the final game in Hungary. Their cause was also helped by Chalon’s below-par free throw shooting (11/18).

Defensively, Besiktas had a game plan to put pressure on key player Blake Schilb – and it worked – as the American, who has averaged over 17 points in the Eurochallenge finished with 12 points off 4/13 shooting.

Led by Mensah-Bonsu, Besiktas raced out to an early 13-3 lead and it soon became 15-3 thanks to a lay-up from David Hawkins. Chalon were shellshocked.

The French side got most of their scoring chances from the free-throw line, but after one, they were down 27-15.

A lay-up from Erceg increased the lead to 14 (29-15) to begin the second period. Besiktas set the tempo of the contest throughout, they were out-hustling, out-muscling their opponents and they were playing solid, effective organised basketball.

Chalon fought back though with just under two minutes left in the half. A hook shot from Michel Jean-Baptiste-Adolphe cut the deficit to five points at 41-36 and despite foul shots from Mensah-Bonsu preserving Besiktas’ advantage but their French opponents narrowed the gap a little more by the half at 44-40.

Besiktas were rattled, Elan Chalon were gaining more and more confidence and a lay-up from Steed Tchicamboud, who led his side in vain with 19 points and seven assists gave the French team a 55-53 lead. Mensah-Bonsu tied the game with 1:03 left in the third from the foul line.

Free throws from Erceg gave Besiktas a 57-55 lead headed to the final quarter, but despite making a fast start, the Istanbul side had it all to do in the fourth.

A high-scoring final period ensued but, Besiktas were game and Chalon were always playing catch-up. Two clutch three-pointers from Puerto Rico international Carlos Arroyo put his side 82-70 ahead and the game was over. Tchicamboud was immense in leading Chalon to one more push but it was too late.

“For me the title came as no surprise,” Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman stated. “I said before the very first game this season, that it is not only our goal to make it to the final, but also to win it.”

LYUBERTSY TRIUMPH IN CONSOLATION GAME.

Triumph Lyubertsy snatched a 94-87 win over Eurochallenge hosts Szolnoki Olaj in the 3rd/4th place game.

Jeffery Jefferson hit 37 points and 10 rebounds as the Russians recovered from a slow start to claim victory.

They were trailing 27-21 after the first as the hosts’ plan to sufficate leading scorer Jefferson was indeed working, but Triumph fought back to lead 49-46 at the half.

Szolnoki though were turning the ball over at will and it allowed Triumph to score easy buckets of their hard-working zone defense.

Obie Trotter had 33 in vain for the Hungarian side.