Strong games for Coleby, Knowles

Adding to his brilliant season in Turkey, Bahamian professional basketball player Dwight Coleby recently received Turkish Basketball League Player of the Week honors. In his latest game, his team Merkezefendi Belediyesi Denizli Basket (7-7) rolled to an 84-59 blowout win of the bottom ranked Nadir Gold Istanbul Basket (0-14).

Coleby finished the game with a double-double as he scored 18 points and corralled a game-high 13 boards in the away game for his team at the Ahmet Comert Spor Salonu in Istanbul, Turkey on Saturday. Denizli is on a two-game winning streak as they remain unbeaten in the new year.

Also in action, in the same league on Saturday, was Bahamian Zane Knowles. The center had a huge double-double, dropping in a team-high 21 points and a game-high 19 boards in a close 97-95 double overtime home victory for his team, Balikesir Buyuksehir Belediyespor (9-5), over Manisa Buyuksehir Belidiye Spor (7-7). Knowles made a go-ahead slam dunk basket in the second overtime period. The game was played at the Kurtdereli Spor Salonu in Balikesir, Turkey. Balikesir is also on a two-game winning streak.

Coleby was also named player of the week earlier in the season when he had 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 70-66 victory for his team over Mamak Belediyesi back in November. The former Western Kentucky University (WKU) player experienced 23 minutes of play and finished 5-for-8 from the field, shooting 62.5 percent. He also finished with 13 rebounds – 10 defensive boards and three on the offensive side. Defensively, he finished with two steals and two blocks in the win.

Knowles was 8-for-18 from the field on Saturday, finishing the night shooting 44.4 percent in 44 minutes of play. He was a monster on the offensive glass, collecting eight boards on that end. He finished the night with 11 defensive boards. The 19 total rebounds was a season high for him.

Coleby is currently in second place in the league in rebounds with 11.9 rebounds per game – 167 total rebounds in 14 games. Kocaeli BSB Kagitspor’s Horace Spencer III is averaging 12 boards per contest. Knowles is ranked at number seven on that same list with 8.6 rebounds a game – 106 rebounds in 13 games.

In Istanbul on Saturday, Coleby and Denizli had a hard time separating themselves from their opponent in the first half as they only led 37-34 at the intermission. The separation took place in the third quarter as Denizli outscored their opponents 26-18 in that stanza to lead 65-50 at the end of the third quarter. It was a very good offensive showing by Coleby and his team, shaking off a pesky Nadir Gold Istanbul team.

The fourth quarter was controlled by Denizli as they held their opponent to just nine points in the quarter.

James White led Nadir Gold Istanbul with 22 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Coleby and his team had more ball movement as they racked up 21 assists compared to nine for their opponent.

Denizli connected on 10 three-pointers in the game and their opponent finished with just two made three-pointers.

It was a huge game for Knowles as he slammed the winning basket for his Balikesir team in the second overtime period. Manisa had no answer for Knowles’ slam dunk as time expired.

The Bahamian also had a hand in ensuring there was a second overtime period when connected on a jump shot with two seconds left in the first overtime session to tie the game at 81.

Knowles and his team found themselves in a tough hole in the first quarter as Manisa went up 26-18 at the end of one. At the end of the first half, Manisa increased their lead to 40-29.

A strong third quarter by Balikesir, where they outscored their opponent 27-17, was just what the doctor ordered. Manisa held a slim 57-56 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was very competitive. Balikesir managed to take a 72-69 lead with 17 seconds left in the game. That lead did not last long as Manisa hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 72. A late attempt to win the game by Balikesir was futile.

Balikesir finished the overtime periods with a 25-23 advantage to win the game.

Next up for Coleby and Denzili will be a key home game against Global Connect Travel Duzce (7-7) at Pamukkale Universitesi Spor Salonu, in Denizli, Turkey, this Saturday. Tip-off is at 3 p.m. local time, eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) here in The Bahamas.

Knowles and Balikesir will head on the road to play Bornova Belediyespor (8-4) this Saturday at Altindag Ataturk Spor Kompleksi in Izmir, Turkey. The game gets underway at 3 p.m. local time.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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