Groningen continues to dominate on the European stage. Making it into the top 16 teams in the FIBA Europe Cup was a historic achievement for the city’s basketball team, but the players seem set to take it even further. The final eight is within reach following a decisive 103-76 win over the Romanian team U BT Cluj Napoca.
In a sold-out MartiniPlaza, Donar played a thrilling game: after a rough start, the score was already 46-34 at halftime. The two teams had faced off before in the group stage – the away game ended 77-73, and the home game score was 92-72.
Under coach Erik Braal, the team seemed confident that the latest Groningen game would go their way. Donar started off behind with three points to Cluj’s 10, but they quickly made up the difference. In the second quarter, the home team had a better grip on the Romanian team’s defence and exploited it: by the end of the first half, the score was 46-34.
Donar played fast-paced basketball, seemingly motivated by the energetic crowd of 4,350 fans. Donar managed a 30-point lead at one point, and Teddy Gipson came through with three three-pointers in the third quarter. The scoreboard read 79-55 with ten minutes left in the game, and the blow-out final score of 103-76 did little to dampen spirits.
Brandyn Curry was the top scorer with 26 points to his name. Evan Bruinsma, Drago Pascalic and Gibson scored 16 points a piece. The away game in Romania on Wednesday, 14 March already seems like more of a formality: Donar’s road to making European history seems wide open.