ESRA – Galatasaray beats BeIiktaI, Lofton, to reach playoff semis

Galatasaray beats BeIiktaI, Lofton, to reach playoff semisDefending champion Galatasaray Liv Hospital used its home court aantage when it mattered most, cruising past BeIiktaI Integral Forex 78-65 to clinch the series 2-1 and reach the semifinals of the men’s Beko Turkish Basketball League (TBL)hampionship playoffs, despite a superb performance from American guard Chris Lofton at Istanbul Abdi Ipeki Arena on Tuesday night.Ergin Ataman’s Galatasaray will face the regular season leader Banvit in the semifinals.

The other two semifinalists PInar KarIIyaka and Fenerbahe ulker will clash to determine which will go to the finals.Lofton, who was instrumental in the BeIiktaI victory in Game 1 at the same venue, tallied 24 points and Kenan Bajramovic added 13, but it was not enough to avoid defeat in the absence of more support from the rest of the team Sinan Guler led his teammates in the scoring for Galatasaray with 15 points and Carlos Arroyo netted 12.

Ataman said in his post-game remarks that his players applied their game plan on the court. “From the first minute on, we were tough, energetic and determined,” he said.

“I think we attacked smartly throughout the game. [Manuchar] Markoishvili and [Malik] Hairston contributed well.

Carlos Arroyo showed his true performance ability. We pressed full-court and spoiled BeIiktaI’s game plan,” he added.

The experienced coach noted that a shocking defeat at home in the first leg almost knocked them out of the playoffs, but his team reversed the experience. “In the end, we managed to make it to the semifinals.

This is how it was supposed to be. But BeIiktaI didn’t give up,” he said.

Ataman has led his sides to win domestic titles in the past two seasons. His Galatasaray won the trophy last season and BeIiktaI was the champion in 2012 with Ataman as coach.

Galatasaray had a storming start to the game, with Guler and Markoishvili making shots from downtown. The hosts stopped the BeIiktaI offense in the early minutes and extended the margin to 13 in the sixth minute, and Galatasaray preserved its aantage to lead the first quarter 22-11.

Ataman’s men increased the margin further in the second quarter with points scored by Zoran Erceg and Ersin DaIlI while keeping BeIiktaI weapon Lofton under control. The hosts were up 43-30 at halftime.

Galatasaray held its double digit lead throughout the third quarter while BeIiktaI stayed alive with Lofton and Bajramovic’s points. Ataman’s team took a 60-48 lead in the third quarter The guests reduced the difference with Lofton and Muratcan Guler sinking shots at the beginning of the fourth quarter Arroyo came to the fore to help Galatasaray restore the margin and the hosts won the game 78-65.

BeIiktaI coach Ahmet Kandemir said at a post-game press conference that his side finished the season in a place worse than it should have. “We didn’t deserve to be eliminated, judging by our overall playoff performance,” he said.

Kandemir lashed out at the referees, saying they had not reacted when fans allegedly swore at the team and did not call Arroyo’s fouls.Semifinal schedule: Fenerbahe ulker vs.

PInar KarIIyaka on May 22, 24 and 27 and Banvit vs. Galatasaray Liv Hospital on May 23, 25 and 28.

Games 4 and 5 will be played if necessary.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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