Five things we learned this week - Gameday 14
MIES (Switzerland) - Did you know who are the Basketball Champions League's rainbow warriors or what big record did Marcelinho Huertas set this week?
Find out all that and more as we have an alternative look at some facts and stats from this week's action in the Basketball Champions League.
1. LITHUANIAN RAINBOW WARRIORS
Lietkabelis means rainbow in Lithuanian and on Wednesday night the team from Panevezys culminated an uphill battle that lasted the last 10 weeks by demonstrating the fighting spirit of a true Rainbow Warrior.
The Lithuanian side started the season on a four-game losing streak, but they went 7-3 in the final stretch of the Regular Season to outrun both BAXI Manresa and UNET Holon in the race for fourth place in Group A.
It was only fitting that, on Wednesday, they rounded off this remarkable comeback by clinching a last-gasp win the road, as Paulius Valinskas maintained his composure in admirable fashion at the foul line and knocked down the three free-throws, with just 9 tenths of the second left on the clock, that earned his team a good-as-gold 69-68 victory at Holon.
2. HEARTBREAK IN CATALONIA
The remarkable Lietkabelis Regular Season home stretch would have been left without reward if Manresa had not gone in the opposite direction in recent weeks.
There are of course mitigating circumstances, as the Spanish side was plagued by injuries and at one point even had to field a seven-man squad to play at Turk Telekom, due to a virus that affected several players.
Regardless of the reasons though, the fact of the matter is that Manresa were among the runaway favorites to clinch a Play-Offs spot up until Gameday 9, when they lost at Lietkabelis.
The Spanish team lost three of their next four but still arrived on Gameday 14 as masters of their own fate, since they would advance if they beat Sassari.
Manresa were resourceful, as you would expect from any team coached by Pedro Martinez, and managed to cover for absences as their benched scored a league-high 79 percent of their 61 points, but in the end it was not enough and they fell 64-61 to the Italian side, waving goodbye to the competition.
3. MORE MARCELINHO MAGIC
Marcelinho Huertas is turning 37 years old in May but, as anyone who's been following his play with Iberostar Tenerife in both the BCL and Spain's Liga Endesa will tell you, he is having one of the best seasons of his much-decorated career.
On Tuesday, the Brazilian international set a new record for most assists in a single BCL Regular Season, with 115 in total, after posting a double-double of 15 points and 11 assists in Tenerife's loss at Brose Bamberg.
Huertas is of course leading the league in assists at the end of the Regular Season, averaging a historical-high 8.8. per game.
The Tuesday game was the fifth time he dished 10 or more assists in a BCL game. Mind you, he has played 13 games in the competition so far.
4. DIJON SAUCE
Home court advantage! @jdadijonbasket blow out Besiktas Sompo Sigorta to finish second in Group D, getting home court advantage for the #BasketballCL Round of 16.— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) February 4, 2020
📊 https://t.co/3AntCdIYzr pic.twitter.com/naBCnk2Dz4
The 41-point differential in JDA Dijon's 88-47 win over Besiktas Sompo Sigorta on Tuesday is the widest margin we saw in the league this season.
Dijon also tied the record for best French defense in a BCL game. The only other French team to give up as few points was Monaco, in a 65-47 win over Fraport Skyliners in the opening week of the 2016-17 season.
By contrast, Besiktas's 47-point tally was the lowest in the league this season. The Turkish team's third quarter output of two points set a new negative record in BCL history for the fewest points scored in a single quarter. There had only been four prior instances in the BCL when a team had no players scoring in double digits.
5. A GRACEFUL EXIT
Bamberg's BCL campaign ended on Wednesday night, but they did their best to bow out in style. The German side set a new BCL record in the process of inflicting a defeat upon one of the competition favorites, Iberostar Tenerife, that costed the Spanish team first place in Group C.
Bamberg's bench scored 69 points, which is a new competition record. The German side also became the first team in BCL history to have three players scoring 15 or more points off the bench.
Retin Obasohan, who earned a spot on Team of the Week for Gameday 14, had 22 points, Assem Marei scored 18, while Kameron Taylor finished with 16 points.