Single-game records in BCL's first four years
MIES (Switzerland) - The Basketball Champions League is technically turning four years old soon, as its inaugural Regular Season Draw took place on July 21, 2016.
The fourth season of the BCL is of course set to be completed in the autumn after the final stage of the competition format was modified in March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2019-20 BCL champion will emerge from a Final Eight tournament that is scheduled to take place from September 30th to October 4th.
Nonetheless, and despite its still young history, the competition that has already shaken up the European basketball stage has also produced some single-game records which are worth remembering as we begin to warm up for autumn's season finale.
After starting their 2019-20 campaign with two losses in as many games, UNET Holon travelled to Poland on October 29 seeking to finally tick the win column against Polski Cukier Torun.
The Israeli team, coached by Sharon Drucker at the time, came out strong and poured in 33 points in the opening quarter to take a 9-point lead. Holon reached the 63-point mark by halftime, slowed down somewhat in the third period, but put their foot back on the gas in the final stanza to register an eye-popping 122-105 win.
Up until that night, no team had scored more than 114 points in a BCL game. Six Holon players scored in double digits, led by Marcus Foster's 22 points. Coach Drucker's men shot 31 of 44 from two-point range and went 16 of 30 from dowtown.
The combined 227 points of Holon and Torun in that game also set a new BCL record for the highest combined score in a single game, including all games that went to multiple overtime.
Less than a couple of months after Holon's exploits in Poland (see above), it was Manresa's turn to travel there in search of a road win at the expense of Polski Cukier Torun.
Coach Pedro Martinez probably showed his players what the Israeli team's offense had accomplished earlier on that same court because Manresa came out guns blazing, as if they were looking to break Holon's record, and poured in 31 points in the first period.
The Spanish team scored 65 points by the halftime buzzer - so two points more than Holon had at the same stage in the game - and were still on pace to beat Holon's feat at the end of the third quarter, when they led Torun 97-81.
Manresa eventually fell just one point short of tying the scoring record, as they won 121-102, but their pursuit of Holon's 122 points led to another BCL record: The team of the basketball-crazed Catalan town dished out a collective 41 assists, 7 more than the previous record in the competition.
Point guard Dani Perez who collected a double-double of 11 points and 11 assists was the main culprit, but Manresa had an additional eight players with at least one assist. All in all, 9 of the 11 Manresa players that took to the floor that night had at least one assist in their stat line.
Oldenburg's offensive prowess in the 2017-18 season became apparent right off the bat as they averaged 88.3 points through their opening three games.
In the fourth encounter they turned it up a notch and hit the century mark for the first time in that campaign, against an opponent that would eventually make it all the way to the Final Four, UCAM Murcia.
The German side were unstoppable on the night, blowing out the Spanish outfit 100-80 at home, and establishing the single-game record for most made threes in the process.
Oldenburg knocked down 20 of their 38 shots from behind the arc, for an outstanding 53 percent three-point field goal percentage. Belgian international Maxime De Zeeuw spearheaded the endeavor as he went 5 of 7 from downtown, while seven more Oldenburg players made at least one triple each.
Interestingly, the hosts attempted only 23 shots from within the arc, converting 15 of them.
There is only one minor issue a team that registers the largest ever margin of victory in the history of a competition has to deal with - everything else it accomplishes in that game, no matter how remarkable, will be definitely overshadowed by the big win.
Tenerife realized that much in January 2019, when they demolished Opava 97-38 at home. Everybody took notice of the 59-point point differential which, truth be told, is one of those records that will likely hold for ever, and overlooked the 65 boards the Spanish team corralled that night.
El @CB1939Canarias imprimió la más abultada derrota que se conoce en la @BasketballCL tras ganar por 97-38 al BK Opava. Una diferencia de +59 puntos a favor de los laguneros que no se había visto en los tres años de la competición.— RTVECanarias (@RTVECanarias) January 31, 2019
(📷 CB Canarias) pic.twitter.com/SHRTiWjaSZ
Two Tenerife players, Sebastian Saiz and Pierre-Antoine Gillet, brought down 14 rebounds apiece, but the even more noteworthy statistical occurrence was that each of the 11 Tenerife players who took to the court collected at least 2 boards.
The Spanish team outrebounded their Czech visitors 46 to 13 on the defensive glass and 19 to 7 on the offensive end. Yes, that's correct, Tenerife had nearly as many offensive boards as Opava had total rebounds, 19 to 20.
Mornar Bar's 11 blocks and the 20 steals of Tenerife and Monaco
On January 14, 2020, Mornar Bar played host to Brose Bamberg at a crucial turn in the Regular Season, as both teams were falling behind in the race for a top-four spot in their group.
Ultimately neither of the two teams made it out from Group C, but on that night the Montenegro side made it clear that they were willing to put in the effort on the defensive end.
The hosts came up with a record 11 blocks as Uros Lukovic blocked 6 shots and four more Mornar players had at least one block each for their team to become the first to block more than 10 opponents' shots in a BCL game.
Monaco became on October 10, 2017 the first team in competition history to come up with 20 steals in a single game, when they picked the pockets of Juventus Utena at every chance they got, en route to a 90-53 win at home over the Lithuanian side.
It was such a great team effort that no single Monaco player had more than 3 steals, but no less than 10 players on the French team came up with at least steal.
A little bit more than two years later, on November 5th, 2019, Tenerife emulated Monaco's feat by coming up with 20 steals in an impressive defensive display against ERA Nymburk that enabled the Spanish side to claim a 78-68 win over the Czech champions in Prague.
Lahaou Konate set the tone as he came up with 6 steals and a further seven Tenerife players had at least one steal each to prove that, as was the case with Monaco, no team can register such a big defensive stat without a coordinated, collective effort.
Monaco certainly had luck on their side in Game 1 of their Round of 16 series in 2017-18, as they clinched a last-gasp 84-82 win at Stelmet Zielona Gora after Gerald Robinson got the friendly bounce on a buzzer-beating jumper.
So pretty much everyone expected a close battle a week later, in Game 2 in Monaco, as the Polish side were facing a do-or-die game and were eager to prove their loss in the first game was but a fluke.
Monaco however thought otherwise, and made sure the scenario everybody else expected never materialized. The French league team started pulling away in the second quarter and cruised to a 90-60 victory, after holding their Polish visitors to a season-low 28.6 percent field goal percentage.
While Tenerife's 59-point win margin (see above) is an absolute competition record, Monaco are the only team to win a game by 30 points in the Play-Offs, setting a record that is arguably almost as unassailable as the Spanish team's.
If we however look past the margin however, was Monaco's win really the biggest play-off victory? If the Play-Offs are about memorable turnarounds, then probably not.
The honor of claiming the biggest comeback win in BCL Play-Offs history is bestowed upon Iberostar Tenerife, who overturned a 12-point deficit from their Game 1 clash with Promitheas in the 2018-19 Round of 16 (the Play-Offs were initially home and away games and the aggregate score winner advanced to the next stage). The Spanish team blew past the Greek side 79-57 in Game 2 on March 6th, 2019 to advance to the Quarter-Finals.
Two teams, Pinar Karsiyaka and AEK, both overturned a 10-point deficit to win a play-off series. In the 2016-17 season, Karsıyaka lost 90-80 at Fraport Skyliners in the first leg of their Play-Offs Qualifiers tie, in Frankfurt, but went on to beat the German side 72–52 in the second leg in Turkey.
The next season though AEK came up with a less emphatic, but definitely far more consequential comeback triumph, courtesy of a now almost iconic Kevin Punter dagger shot. The dramatic manner in which that turnaround win came to pass and the way it shaped the final stretch of the competition, make it arguably the biggest comeback win in the the Play-Offs during the first four years of the BCL.
The Athens team fell 98-88 to Nymburk at home in Game 1 in the Round of 16, but eked out a 93-82 victory in the second game in the Czech Republic on Punter's buzzer-beater and advanced to the Quarter-Finals on an 181-180 aggregate win.
AEK went on to make it to the Final Four and ultimately defeated Monaco in the title game, to become the second BCL champion in history.