After six losses in a row, Telindus Oostende is now tasting its first win in the ULEB Cup. The Belgians defeated Opel Skyliners 85-75 before home crowd in Oostende on Tuesday, and now leave behind the zero in the win column, rising to 1-6, and avoiding for the moment mathematical elimination. Skyliners fell 2-5 and fifth place. Oostende built the win in the first half, taking a solid lead in the first quarter and improving it at halftime, never giving the impression that the first win would be threatened. Oostende was led by center Mike Nahar and forward Tony Dorsey, who contributed 16 points each. More double-digit scoring came from Christophe Beghin with 14 points, Rimas Kaukenas with 12, and Teo Cizmic with 10. Skyliners had 21 points from top scorer Mario Kasun, followed by Robert Garrett, 16, and Travis Conlan, who added 13.
Oostende had the big news of newcomer point guard Michael Hawkins to show, but former Real Madrid's point guard did not play (and contributed) so much. Kaukenas led the first run in the first quarter, when Telindus opened the first gap of the game, a solid 7 points between itself and Skyliners, 23-16. With good defense, Oostende was able to keep and then deepen the lead at halftime; Opel Skyliners had plenty of difficulties on offense, while Oostende played smart enough to earn 5 more points to defend at intermission, as the score was 42-30 after 20 minutes.
Mario Kasun tried to lead guests in the second half, but Oostende was tough enough to keep the advantage; with good inside playing of center Virgil Stanescu, who re-opened the game, Oostende improved its lead at the end of the third period (65-49) and the game seemed to move to its side. Skyliners was already suffering foul troubles with many players (Travis Conlan, Robert Garret, Kasun and Pascal Roller with 4), tried the last attempt with Garret and Kasun once again (72-63), but when Kasun was fouled out Skyliners had to rise white flag and Oostende's fans could celebrate the first European win of the season.
Tuesday, December 10, 2002