The Eurocup finalist hosting the newcomer from Romania

Frutti Extra Bursaspor will host U-BT Cluj-Napoca on Wednesday in Round 6 of the EuroCup. It will be the first time ever when these two teams face each other and in this very balanced Group A every win is crucial, so both teams will be 100% motivated.

The Turkish side is no longer an underdog in EuroCup after they made history last season reaching the Final, only to lose against Virtus Bologna. Coach Dusan Alimpijevic decided to stay in Bursa and the team looks capable of repeating last year’s run. The Crocodiles, as they are called by their fans, have a 3-2 record so far, beating teams like Joventut Badalona and JL Bourg (both suffered their only loss against the Turkish side). As the individual statistics show, Bursaspor has a balanced roster, with eight players averaging over 8.6 ppg (their 8th-best scorer is their second-best rebounder). Onuralp Bitim is the best scorer of the team so far, followed by Americans Derek Needham and Zach Auguste. The Turks also have a very good three-point shooting percentage.

Bursaspor’s opponents also made history last season but in the Basketball Champions League. U-BT Cluj was just one game away from qualifying for the BCL Final Four. Encouraged by the successful European campaign, the management decided to take on an even greater challenge and now the team from Transylvania plays for the first time in its history in the EuroCup, with an objective to qualify for the playoffs. U-BT has a 2-3 record so far, but all three defeats were by 5 points or less. The black-and-white team replaced point guard Jordan Taylor with Nemanja Gordic just a few days before last week’s clash against Brescia and the Bosnian guard impressed in his debut, scoring 13 points in the win. U-BT only plays with an 8 or 9-men rotation and only 7 players have more than 1.5 ppg, but they share the ball well and every player knows their role in coach Silvasan’s system. Brazilian forward Leo Meindl is the main offensive weapon of the team with an average of 18.4 ppg.

As the EuroCup website also mentioned in the game preview, we can expect a high-scoring game, as Bursaspor and Cluj are two of the best offensive teams so far this season. The Turkish team is 6th in scoring with an average of 84.2 ppg, while the Romanian champions are second with 86.8 ppg.

Imre Halasz

Photo credit: Eurocup