Stage set for Round 2 of Qualification after second legs
MIES (Basketball Champions League) - The second leg of Qualification Round 1 for the 2017-18 Basketball Champions League Regular Season took place on Thursday evening across Europe.
Here's a brief rundown of what happened in each match-up, ahead of the start of Qualification Round 2, which tips off on Sunday.
Avtodor Saratov vs Keravnos
It was bitter sweet for Keravnos who, despite winning 67-63 over Avtodor Saratov in the second leg did not advance.
Avtodor Saratov won the tie on aggregate thanks to their 11-point victory on Tuesday and will next take on Mornar Bar.
Kenny Barker's 11 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists led the Cypriot side in the return leg, with Theron Bussey adding 13 points. For Saratov, Branden Frazier had 17 points and Coty Clarke weighed in with 12.
Vytautas vs Donar Groningen
After Vytautas took the first leg by two, Donar Groningen reversed the result and made it look comfortable with a 84-61 victory to advance a step closer to the Regular Season.
The Dutch side did its damage in the first half, taking a 27-point lead into the break and cruising the rest of the way to set up an encounter with Bakken Bears on Sunday.
The 20 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals from Brandyn Curry led Groningen, who also received 14 points from Drago Pasalic.
Brad Tinsley's 14 points led Vytautas, who had 20 turnovers.
Kalev Cramo vs Karposh Sakoli
Karposh Sakoli picked up the 81-78 win on the road but it wasn't enough to win their tie against Kalev Cramo, who had won the first leg by eight. They advanced to face Alba Fehérvár Basket in the second round of the qualifiers.
With the score knotted at 75 with just under three minutes remaining, Karposh Sakoli had everything to play for yet despite taking control, they did not pull away.
Branko Mirkovic and Janari Jöesaar led Kalev Cramo with 17 and 12 points respectively, while Jaylon Brown had 19 and was followed by three others with 16 points for Karposh Sakoli.
Tsmoki-Minsk vs Sigal Prishtina
Tsmoki-Minsk made it two wins from two with an 89-74 victory as Sigal Prishtina exited with a 22-point loss on aggregate.
"Congratulations to Tsmoki-Minsk", said Sigal Prishtina Head Coach Ahmet Kandemir. "I think they were physically stronger and more experienced for this level of competition. We started the first half well. We understood the need to control the game, but a few mistakes did not allow us to do what we should have. The Belarusians deserved to win."
Multiple lead changes in the second quarter gave the impression the game was going down to the wire, but a 16-5 run over a six minute stretch in the third quarter saw Tsmoki-Minsk pull away.
"I congratulate my team, all our guys and coaches, because we will go the next round", said Tsmoki-Minsk Head Coach Aliaksandr Krutsikau. "We started very passively in the first half, and it's hard to say what it was connected with. Perhaps we were too self-confident. In the second half the bench added energy, and we eventually won. I am pleased with the result of the game."
Tsmoki-Minsk will face Budivelnyk on Sunday in the second stage of the qualifiers.
Mikita Meshcharakou registered 21 points and 7 rebounds to lead the victors, as Kravish had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
A 27-point outburst from Dardan Berisha would not be enough for Sigal Prishtina.
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg vs Bosna
MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg carried on from where they left off with a 102-59 rout of Bosna for a 69-point aggregate victory, cruising from start to finish.
Justin Sears led five players in double figures for Ludwigsburg with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while missing just three shots.
The German side rotated heavily with all 12 players on the roster seeing a minimum of 8 minutes. They will next take on U-BT Cluj Napoca.
Bosna were led by 16 points from Goran Ikonic and 12 from Milija Mikovic, but they received little help from elsewhere.
Telenet Giants Antwerp vs Lulea
Telenet Giants Antwerp secured their spot in the next qualifying round after defeating Lulea 83-74, to go two for two against the Swedish side.
Jason Clark had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assist to lead Antwerp, as Dave Dudzinski had 16 points and 7 rebounds.
A game-high 24 points and 6 assists from Brandon Rozzell would not be enough for Lulea, who also received 14 points from Quinton Upshur.
Antwerp set up a meeting with Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.
Divina Seguros Joventut vs Dinamo Tbilisi
Divina Seguros Joventut secured an 86-66 win over Dinamo Tbilisi, for a 32-point aggregate win to set up a match-up with Kataja Basket on Saturday.
The 20-point victory was closer than the scoreline would suggest, with neither team being able to move clear until the final period where Joventut were able to run up the score in the final minutes.
Patrick Richard had 13 points and five players reached double digits for Joventut, with the home side receiving 40 points from its bench.
Ilia Londaridze had a game-high 17 points to lead Tbilisi.
Benfica vs Kapfenberg Bulls
Though it lacked the drama of their first leg, Benfica once again managed to secure a victory, winning 67-62 over Kapfenberg Bulls.
Benfica used a 10-0 fourth quarter opening run to take control of the game, and then held on down the stretch.
Antywane Robinson led Benfica as their only player in double digits with 16 points, while Brian Oliver and Bogic Vujosevic led Kapfenberg with 18 and 17 points, respectively.