Bakken Bears, Igokea clinch final Regular Season spots
NICOSIA (Cyprus) and BOTEVGRAD (Bulgaria) - Bakken Bears and Igokea grabbed on Friday night the final two remaining tickets to the 2020-21 Basketball Champions League Regular Season.
The Danish club cruised past Belfius Mons-Hainaut in Nicolsia while Igokea overcame tenacious Sporting CP in Botevgrad, in the games that concluded the Qualifiers.
Bakken started pulling away midway through the second quarter and cruised to a 86-71 win over Belfius Mons-Hainaut to celebrate their passage to the BCL Regular Season in style.
A spectacular De'Shawn Stephens dunk 6:30 from the halftime buzzer triggered a 15-4 run and the Danish side's lead stretched to 42-29 shortly before the break.
The Bears led by as many as 26 points in the third quarter, before a late Mons-Hainaut charge reduced the deficit in the final frame
Michel Diouf paced the winners with a near double-double of 18 points and 9 rebounds while Ryan Evans chipped in with 14 points and 6 boards. Arik Smith had a game-high 21 points and Skylar Spencer posted a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds in losing efforts.
Bakken will play in Group A of the Regular Season, together with Dinamo Sassari, Galatasaray Doga Sigorta and Iberostar Tenerife.
Group C: Igokea 70-64 Sporting CP
Igokea finished strong down the stretch in a clash that had 14 ties and never saw either team lead by double digits, to hold off Sporting CP 70-64 and earn their maiden trip to the BCL Regular Season.
Nikola Jovanovic came up with an offensive board and scored with a put-back 8:18 from the final buzzer to put Igokea ahead, 50-49.
The same player sunk two free-throws less than a minute later to stretch the Bosnian team's lead to 8 points, their biggest of the night up until that point in the game.
Igokea fought tooth and nail to hold on to their lead and when the tenacious Portuguese side cut the deficit to four points in the final 17 seconds, Marko Josilo kept his cool at the free-throw line to seal the win for the Bosnian side.
Jackie Carmichael led the way for Igokea with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals while Jovanovic finished with 15 points and 5 boards.
For Sporting, Travante Williams had 16 points and 4 boards in defeat.
Igokea are placed in Group G of the Regular Season and will go up against Hapoel Jerusalem, Limoges and Turk Telekom.