Week 9 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - The first week of Basketball Champions League action in 2021 signaled our entry into the business end of the Regular Season and, consequently, great individual performances were no longer good enough unless they help a team win crucial games.
Luckily for their respective teams, Gerry Blakes of Cholet, Q.J. Peterson of Bakken Bears, Chris Johnson of Hapoel UNET-Credit Holon, Robin Benzing of Casademont Zaragoza and Giorgi Shermadini of Iberostar Tenerife got the memo and turned in big displays that led to pivotal wins.
Let's have a closer look at these five players' performances and the impact they had on their teams' success in Week 9.
Q.J. Peterson turns Bakken into terrifying Bears
Bakken Bears had sent fair warning to everybody in Group A (and beyond) when they dispatched Dinamo Sassari with surprising ease in December, and on Tuesday Q.J. Peterson made sure there was nobody left who could think that win was a fluke - and became the new league leading scorer in the process.
With Bakken playing host to Galatasaray, the 26-year-old point guard put on his Steph Curry guise and poured in 35 points - a joint second-high scoring tally in a single BCL game this season - to lead the Danish team to a famous 96-78 victory.
Peterson added 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for an efficiency rating of 37, the second-highest in the BCL this season, as he became the first player in 2020-21 to collect at least 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a single BCL game.
Gerry Blakes delivers the goods for Cholet
Gerry Blakes arrived at Cholet in late October and finding his rhythm as one of the primary offensive options has not been straightforward, since he's only managed to play in two French Pro A games and four BCL games so far.
But on Tuesday, the 27-year-old guard came off the bench and produced his best performance since joining Cholet, showcasing his scoring prowess as he poured in 25 points on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor.
Blakes added 4 assists, 3 boards and an impressive block on the defensive end to register a season-high efficiency rating of 27 and pave the way for Cholet's 89-71 victory over Tsmoki-Minsk at home.
Chris Johnson becomes the round mount of rebound for a night
Charles Barkley will probably always be the most famous 1.98m (6ft 6in) tall player to have been dominant on the glass through his career but Chris Johnson, who also stands at 1.98m, did more than a convincing imitation of Sir Charles on Tuesday night.
The Hapoel UNET-Credit Holon small forward, who had a total of 13 rebounds in the first four games of this BCL season combined, grabbed 13 boards in the crucial clash with AEK.
Johnson single-handedly erased one concern his team had going into the game, as Holon were near the bottom of the league in rebounding, averaging 31 boards over the first four encounters.
The Israeli side ended up out-rebounding AEK 46 to 31 and of course clinched a 77-71 victory as Johnson finished with 16 points, 2 assists and 2 steals to go with his 13 boards, registering a season-high efficiency rating of 24.
Zaragoza count with Benzing in the clutch
Your team is playing on the road, trailing Nizhny Novgorod by 12 points in the fourth quarter and your shot has not been dropping in the way it usually does, so you just call it a night and look ahead at the next game, right? Not if you're Robin Benzing, because then you can drill back-to-back three-pointers from deep and instigate a comeback.
The Casademont Zaragoza forward inspired his team's reaction when all seemed lost and continued to produce in overtime, for the Spanish team to ride out 98-92 winners at Nizhny and punch their ticket to the Play-Offs.
The German international finished with a season-high 23 points on 8 of 15 shooting from the floor, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals for an efficiency rating of 25, which is also his personal high so far in the 2020-21 BCL season.
Giorgi 'microwave' Shermadini stays hot at Tenerife
There is very little Giorgi Shermadini has not achieved since arriving at Iberostar Tenerife in 2019 and almost instantly establishing himself as one of the undisputed best centers in BCL history, so on Wednesday he set a new challenge for himself when his team played host to Dinamo Sassari.
It's not news of course that the Georgian international scored 19 points, but this time the big man managed to reach that sort of production in just 19 minutes and 50 seconds of play, as he went an almost flawless 8 for 9 from the floor and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line.
Shermadini added 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block to register an efficiency rating of 26 and spearheaded Tenerife on a memorable night as the Spanish team set a new club scoring record in outgunning the Italian side 115-85 and securing a spot in the Play-Offs for the fifth time in as many years.