Where we left off: Filou Oostende
OOSTENDE (Belgium) - You know the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League season resumes on September 16 but it's been so long since play was suspended that you can barely remember pre-hiatus events in the competition? Don't worry, we got you covered!
On Wednesday, Filou Oostende face Iberostar Tenerife in Game 3 of their Round of 16 series with the winner securing a place in the Athens Final Eight that tips off September 30 - here's everything you need to refresh your memory on how the Belgian team got to this point:
What Did Oostende's Play Look Like Before the Hiatus?
- Oostende's three leading scorers are no longer on the team. Braian Angola, who actually didn't play in the first two games of the Round of 16 as he signed for Partizan Belgrade after the Regular Season, was Oostende's leading scorer up until the hiatus, averaging 14 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
- Shevon Thompson was a close second, averaging a spectacular double-double of 13.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The big man, who was Oostende's best player in terms of efficiency, with an average PER of 17.4, missed Game 2 of the Round of 16 --which Oostende won-- through injury. MiKyle McIntosh was the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points to go with his 4.1 rebounds per contest.
- The Belgian champions had the least productive offense of all 16 teams that made it to the Play-Offs as they scored 75.6 points per game on average and had an offensive rating of 99.8 points per 100 possessions - no other play-off team had an offensive rating lower than 100.
- Oostende however were among the best teams when it came to cleaning the glass, especially on their end of the floor, as their defensive rebounding rate of 71.9 percent was the third-highest among play-off teams. Their offensive rebounding rating of 29.9 was not that high, but was still above average. The Belgians averaged 38 rebounds per game, sixth-best in the league if we include all Regular Season and Play-Offs games.
- Another of Oostende's strengths --arguably related to their defensive rebounding prowess -- was the fact they held opponents to just 47.9 percent shooting from two-point range. Only four of the teams that made it to the Play-Offs can boast of defending shots from within the arc better than Oostende.
- Despite their great defending close to the rim, Oostende were one of only two Play-Offs teams (the other was Besiktas) to have a negative average point differential. In the Regular Season, the Belgians scored 75.6 points but gave up 77.5 points per game, on average.
What Had Oostende Achieved Up Until March?
*The Belgian EuroMillions Basketball League was canceled on March 14 due to the pandemic and Oostende were proclaimed champions, as they were top of the standings at the time of the suspension.
Oostende finished in third place in Group A on an 8-6 record after winning five of their final six games in the group. A hard-fought 59-58 road victory at Hapoel Holon on December 17 --Oostende's narrowest win so far in this BCL season-- proved the turning point in their campaign.
Round of 16
Oostende lost 85-75 to Iberostar Tenerife in Game 1 of their Round of 16 series in Spain as the Belgian side shot a poor 26 percent from three-point range. Yannick Desiron led all Oostende scorers with 16 points.
The Belgian team bounced back in spectacular fashion a week later at home and led Tenerife from start to finish to clinch a 75-69 win, behind 17 points from Jean-Marc Mwema. That Oostende win tied the series at 1-1 and led to the do-or-die Game 3 which will finally take place on Wednesday.
What Will Stay the Same? What's New?
While Oostende are possibly the team that has made the least changes to their roster this off-season, there is the glaring departure of Shevon Thompson. While it's hard not to miss a player who averaged a season double-double, led the team in efficiency and is a candidate for the 2019-20 Star Lineup, Thompson did miss Game 2 of the Tenerife series and Oostende still managed to win that game.
Thomas Welsh, who is coming off an excellent season in the G League, is the center that Oostende picked to fill the big shoes of Thompson, and Belgian international Pierre Antoine Gillet, who spent four successful seasons at the club up from 2013 through 2017, should be a tremendously important addition to the forward spots.
Amar Sylla is expected to take another big step in his development and this season he will be joined by another former player of Real Madrid's youth team, Mario Nakic. The 19-year-old small forward joined Oostende alongside Haris Bratanovic, who came up through the FC Barcelona system.