Holon, AEK and Sassari punch tickets to Play-Offs - Week 11 Wednesday roundup
MIES (Switzerland) - Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon will make their maiden trip to the Play-Offs after claiming first place in Group A thanks to a statement win at Cholet and AEK, who were victorious at Tsmoki-Minsk, took second place behind the Israeli team.
Meanwhile in Group A, Dinamo Sassari defeated Galatasaray in Istanbul to erase the effect of Bakken Bears' famous victory over Iberostar Tenerife and will accompany the Spanish team into the Play-Offs.
Here's a closer look at the final day of action in Group A and in Group C:
Cholet 71-89 Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon -- Group C
Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon, who had missed out on the BCL Play-Offs two seasons in a row, delivered a masterful defensive performance on Wednesday to beat Cholet 89-71 on the road and book a trip to the Play-Offs as Group C winners.
The way things played out in the other game in the group, with AEK beating Tsmoki-Minsk, it would have been enough for Holon to avoid losing to Cholet by 10 points or more.
Nonetheless, the Israeli team used a mini run late in the second quarter to make absolutely clear that they were in no mood to speculate.
With Cholet leading 29-26, Maxime De Zeeuw came up with a spectacular one-handed dunk and Tyrus McGee followed up with a triple from the top of the key to bring Holon in front, 31-29 with 3:44 remaining to the end of the first half.
McGee hit another triple, 38 seconds from the halftime buzzer, for the Israeli team to take a 41-33 cushion at the interval and Cholet never managed to mount a comeback after the break
The visitors led by as many as 20 points in the final stanza, as they held the hosts to just 6 of 19 three-point shooting. De Zeeuw had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists to lead five Holon players in double digits.
C.J. Harris chipped in with 16 points and 7 assists and McGee finished with 15 points, while for Cholet Gerry Blakes had 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting from the floor in a losing effort.
Tsmoki-Minsk 90-95 AEK -- Group C
AEK have progressed to the BCL Play-Offs for the fifth time in as many seasons and will do as the second-placed team in Group C, after holding off Tsmoki-Minsk 95-90 on the road behind Keith Langford's season-high 32 points.
The Greek team finished tied with Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon at 4-2 but the Israeli team topped the group courtesy of their head-to-head advantage, while Minsk finished at 2-4, tied with Cholet in the standings.
AEK led by 10 points late in the second quarter and by as many as 16 late in the third but Minsk, despite the fact that Holon's win at Cholet moments earlier had erased their hopes of advancing, kept coming back every time in an effort to wave farewell with a win.
Kris Clyburn scored with a layup 5:18 from the final buzzer to cut the deficit to just two points, 77-75, but Matt Lojeski dished an assist to Yanick Moreira on the other end for AEK to stop the rot.
Langford knocked down a triple 1:12 from the final buzzer to stretch the Greek side's lead to 89-82 and Dimitris Moraitis sealed the win for the Greek side with two free-throws 23 seconds from time.
Langford collected his 32 on 5 of 6 three-point shooting and added 3 rebounds and 2 assists, while Moreira chipped in with 21 points, 4 boards and 4 assists. Derek Cooke Jr had a near double-double of 19 points and 9 rebounds for Minsk in defeat.
Galatasaray 81-92 Dinamo Sassari -- Group A
Dinamo Sassari made the Play-Offs for the second year in a row after prevailing 92-81 over Galatasaray on the road to edge out Bakken Bears for second place in Group A.
The Italian team jumped in the driver's seat for good late in the first quarter and Eimantas Bendzius hit his fourth first-half three-pointer right before the eight-minute mark in the second frame to extend the gap to 29-20.
Miro Bilan scored with a layup 5:35 from the halftime buzzer to stretch the lead to 34-24 and Sassari led by double digits until early in the fourth stanza.
It was 6:58 from the final buzzer when Galatasaray momentarily reduced the deficit to seven points, 75-68, on an RJ Hunter dunk, but Bendzius replied swiftly by sinking a midrange jumper and Marco Spissu followed up with a triple to bring Sassari's lead back to 12 points.
Spissu paced Sassari with 23 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds and Bendzius finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Daryl Macon finished with 23 points for Galatasaray in defeat.
Bakken Bears 96-78 Iberostar Tenerife -- Group A
Bakken Bears registered an historic for Danish basketball 96-78 victory over former BCL champions Iberostar Tenerife but there were no celebrations in Aarhus as it didn't prove enough to earn them a spot in the Play-Offs spot.
Dinamo Sassari's win over Galatasaray in Istanbul meant that Bakken, who finished at 3-3 in the Group A standings, took third place behind the Italian team.
Darko Jukic poured in 16 first-half points on 7 of 8 shooting from the floor to propel the Bears to a 42-34 halftime lead over their famed rivals, and Bakken tightened their grip on the game after the interval.
A Ryan Evans layup with 1:45 remaining in the third frame halted Tenerife's progress by restoring Bakken's eight-point lead and a Tylor Ongwae layup 6:33 from the final buzzer stretched the gap to 12 points, 74-62.
Tenerife called a timeout but never managed to reduce the deficit back to single digits and the Bears even extended the lead to as many as 19 in the final minutes.
Jukic finished with 20 points and 4 rebounds, De'Shawn Stephens had a a near double-double of 20 points and 9 rebounds and Q. J. Peterson chipped in with 18 points and 8 assists for the winners. For Tenerife, Fran Guerra had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in a losing effort.