Five things we learned this week - Gameday 10
MIES (Switzerland) - Did you know what Tenerife and Nymburk have in common, which record Hapoel Jerusalem set this week, why rebounds don't count in Turkey and that Belgian chocolate tastes even better if a neighbor also has some?
Find out all that - and more - as we have an alternative look at some facts and stats from Gameday 10 action in the Basketball Champions League!
1. GROUP C BONE-CRUSHERS
The only group to include two teams that have already reached or surpassed eight wins is Group C, and the common thread between those two sides - Iberostar Tenerife and ERA Nymburk is their bone-crushing defense.
The Spanish team have the best defense in the league in absolute numbers, giving up just 66.2 points per game on average. On Wednesday, they travelled to Greece and held Peristeri a whopping 21 points below the Greek team's points average going into the game, to pick up a comfy 80-62 win on the road.
Tenerife have now had a league-high eight games this season where they held their opponents below 70 points. Interestingly, it seems that seems that Tenerife's defense is so intimidating that Peristeri could not even hit their free-throws - they shot lower than 60 percent from the foul line for the first time this season.
Nymburk meanwhile have the best defensive rating in the league, meaning that they give up the fewer points per 100 possessions. On Tuesday, the Czech champions held VEF Riga - a team that desperately needed to win in order to stay alive in the play-off race -to just 56 points. The Latvian side converted only 30 percent of their shots from the floor and shot a particularly poor 16 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
2. HAPOEL DON'T MISS
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem clinched on Tuesday an 83-74 win at RASTA Vechta, and there must have been a point in the game when the German team thought they were fighting an impossible fight, as Hapoel converted an eye-popping 22 of their 26 shots from two-point range.
The 85 percent two-point field goal percentage in a single game constitutes a new record in the competition. One of the main culprits for this record level of accuracy was of course TaShawn Thomas , who shot 9 of 9 from two-point range (and 10 of 10 from the floor), as only the fourth player in BCL history to hit all of his shots on 10 or more attempts.
3. TURKISH TEAMS SNUB THE GLASS
The fact that Turk Telekom and Besiktas Sompo Sigorta won at home this week is perfectly reasonable and nobody would think twice about it, unless they had a look at the stats and realized that both Turkish teams won despite rejecting basketball's conventional wisdom by... ignoring the board.
On Tuesday, Besiktas brought down only 21 rebounds, the fewest by any team in a BCL game this season, but still managed to edge Telekom Baskets Bonn 80-76.
The German team collected 37 rebounds, so there is no question about which side won the battle on the glass. Interestingly, on Gameday 9 Besiktas had set their BCL club record with 49 rebounds, but lost 80-73 to Zaragoza!
On Wednesday, Turk Telekom grabbed only one (1) offensive rebound in their 92-83 win over Lietkabelis. This happens for the first time this season, but there have actually been two prior occasions in competition history when a team pulled down only a single offensive board.
Of course, it is also true that there was not a huge amount of rebounds available, as both teams shot the lights out from three-point range: Lietkabelis made 14 triples for the first time in their BCL history, and only needed 28 attempts to set the record. The hosts meanwhile also hit 14 three-pointers, on 29 attempts.
4. AS EXQUISITE AS BELGIAN CHOCOLATE
📺 @AntwerpGiants rejuvenated their Play-Off bid in dreamy fashion, handing group leaders AEK their first defeat in all competitions since November 19th! #BasketballCL— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 8, 2020
📊 https://t.co/TPl90YefLj pic.twitter.com/i6vTichfPA
Gameday 2 back in October was, up until this week, the only round this season to feature wins for both Belgian teams in the competition- Filou Oostende and Telenet Giants Anwerp.
It might have taken then some time to synchronize watches in the two Belgian seaside cities but it was worth the wait, because this week they made headlines together by halting the progress of two of the most in-form teams in Europe.
On Tuesday, Oostende played host to Dinamo Sassari, the leaders of Group A who are riding a 7-game win streak in the Italian Serie A. The Belgians dished out 25 assists to shoot a season-high 12 of 30 from three-point range and inflict upon the Italian side an 88-82 loss, led by MiKyle McIntosh who was 4 of 6 from downtown and earned a spot on Team of the Week.
The next day Antwerp received another Mediterranean team on a roll, AEK, that was averaging 78.7 points per game up until this week. Antwerp held the Athens side to almost 18 points below their season average and inflicted upon them a first defeat in all competitions since late November, 73-61.
In fact, AEK's 61 points are the Greek team's lowest ever output in a single BCL game during their four-year history in the competition.
5. WHAT HAPPENS IN SPAIN DOESN'T STAY IN SPAIN
📺 @BasquetManresa jumped into the driver's seat shortly after tip-off and led SIG Strasbourg by as many as 29 points as they raced to a comfy 92-68 victory over the French side! #BasketballCL— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 8, 2020
📊 https://t.co/t4jnONvCo8 pic.twitter.com/1YCRAK0EPy
BAXI Manresa and San Pablo Burgos were not simply content with winning at home this week - they also left their respective opponents needing to do some soul-searching on the flight back from Spain.
Manresa defeated SIG Strasbourg 92-68, inflicting upon the French team their heaviest loss in their four-year BCL history. This the first time that the French side have lost consecutive games in the competition by a margin of 20 or more points, as they fell 97-75 at Polski Torun on Gameday 9.
Burgos meanwhile outscored Teksut Bandirma 92-84 by showcasing their biggest strength - the depth of their roster: The Spanish team's bench scored a whopping 43 points, so 47 percent of the total.
What about Bandirma though? Their bench contributed only four (4) points and in actual fact one player, Omar Prewitt, scored all 4 of those points. No team has scored fewer bench points this season and even Bandirma' second unit averaged 27 points per game during the first nine gamedays.