Anadolu Efes visits Belgacom Spirou in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.
The Istanbul team is third in the standings with three wins in six matches and it is a pivotal match-up for Efes’ bid to make it to the Top 16. Spirou (1-5) ranks last in Group C but its only win came on the road against Efes (3-3), so having a 2-0 record against the Turkish powerhouse would boost its chances to get to the Top 16.Efes has grabbed two road wins along the way, however, so will not be an easy opponent in its first visit to the Spiroudome since November 2001.
Spirou comes off its highest scoring game (89) in this Turkish Airlines Euroleague season. Efes, meanwhile, built its last two wins out of great defensive effort, limiting EA7 Emporio Armani and Partizan to 54 and 58 points, respectively.
Efes forward Ersan İlyasova acknowledged it will be a crucial meeting for Efes.
“It will be a very difficult 40 minutes,” İlyasova was quoted in the Euroleague website. “It is a very important game for us. We should avoid losing to be well concentrated. So, we have to be very serious and be in full concentration and do try to do best to win.”
Coach Ufuk Sarıca also said it would be a critical game in Efes’ plans.
“We will play one of the critical games of our group this week,” he said. “Belgacom Spirou Charleroi is a very good team. They beat us in Istanbul. They have got a high tempo and have got a high shooting percentage. In my point of view the Belgian team is in a good capacity to beat any team. We have to do our best to win on Wednesday night.”
Also tonight, Zalgiris Kaunas will meet Unicaha, Brose Baskets will play at unbeaten CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos will take on KK Zagreb in the Group B.
In the only match of the Group A, Gescrap BB will meet SLUC Nancy. k HDN