Week 11 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - The 2020-21 Basketball Champions League Regular Season came to an end this week for the 16 teams that competed in groups A through D and the six tickets to the Play-Offs that were still up for grabs from these groups found their rightful owners.
We picked four players whose performances propelled their respective teams into the Play-Offs this week and one that helped his team bow out in style, in DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell of Tofas Bursa, Keith Langford of AEK, Eimantas Bendzius of Dinamo Sassari, Maxime De Zeeuw of Hapoel UNET-Credit Holon and De'Shawn Stephens of Bakken Bears.
20 and counting for Akoon-Purcell
DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell chose the best possible time to make history in the BCL, as on Tuesday he became the first player to score in double-digits in 20 consecutive games in the competition and ensured his team will progress to the Play-Offs so he gets a chance to extend his streak.
The Tofas Bursa guard poured in 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the floor and added 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals to power his team's 103-97 win at ERA Nymburk that earned them top spot in Group B and, consequently, a trip to the next stage of the competition.
The 27-year-old Akoon-Purcell leads Tofas in scoring with 18.3 points per game, up from 17.4 points per game that he averaged as a Bakken Bears player in 2016-17, when he put together his first 14 double-digit scoring games in the BCL.
Langford scores 32 in 'flu-game'
Keith Langford dropping a season-high 32 points in AEK's 95-90 win at Tsmoki-Minsk is of course business as usual for one of the best scoring guards we have seen in European basketball, but this time around there was a twist to the story.
The 37-year-old veteran was a game-time decision on Wednesday because of stomach pains, but he warmed up normally and ended up coming off the bench in the first quarter.
It turns out though that when Keith Langford feels a bit under the weather he is still Keith Langford, so he shot 5 of 6 from beyond the arc to collect his 32 and even added 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals as AEK sealed a berth in the Play-Offs.
Langford is the first player to score more than 30 points in multiple games this season as well as the first player to score 30 off the bench since November 2019.
Bendzius seeing... double at just the right time
✅ On to the next one! @Dinamo_Sassari are scoring 92PPG in January, they scored 92 against Galatasaray to book a ticket to the Play-Offs! #BasketballCL— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 20, 2021
📊 https://t.co/xsLzP262QC pic.twitter.com/qisTb6sjrt
Dinamo Sassari needed to beat Galatasaray on Wednesday in order to secure their passage to the Play-Offs so Eimantas Bendzius could hardly find a more appropriate time to post his first double-double in the BCL.
The Lithuanian forward hit four triples in the first half to fuel Sassari's solid start and finished with a BCL career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, also adding 2 assists to register an efficiency rating of 24.
Thanks in great part to Bendzius delivering his best performance since arriving in the BCL, Sassari won 92-81 in Istanbul to finish at 4-2 in the Group A standings and edge out Bakken Bears for the ticket to the next stage.
De Zeeuw shows youngsters how it's done
Maxime De Zeeuw arrived at Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon in late November but he hit the ground running and became so valuable that the Israeli club quickly decided to extend his temporary contract until the end of the season.
On Wednesday night, the 33-year-old Belgian power forward demonstrated the wisdom of that decision as he proved a handful for the younger and theoretically much more spry Cholet frontcourt.
De Zeeuw scored a season-high 21 points and added 5 rebounds and 3 assists for an efficiency rating of 22 to inspire Holon's 89-71 win at Cholet that earned the Israeli club their maiden trip to the Play-Offs. The Belgian veteran has reached that stage twice before, with EWE Baskets Oldenburg, in 2016-17 and in 2017-18.
Stephens, Bakken bow out in style
Dear @BasketballCL - if you have a wild card for the playoffs, we can provide the tournament with some highlights... If not, we wish the best of luck to @CB1939Canarias and @dinamo_sassari https://t.co/7do4p5z3iL— Bakken Bears (@bakkenbears) January 20, 2021
De'Shawn Stephens is the second-leading player in two-point field goal percentage, shooting 71.4 percent, but he won't get the chance to improve on that as he and Bakken Bears bid farewell to the 2020-21 BCL on Wednesday night.
Bakken went out with a bang though, as they clinched a 96-78 victory over no other than former BCL champions and Spanish powerhouse Iberostar Tenerife, becoming the first Danish club to celebrate such a win.
Stephens signed off his impressive 2020-21 campaign with another well-rounded display as he finished with a near double-double of 20 points and 9 rebounds, registering an efficiency rating of 22.