Week 7 standout performances
MIES (Switzerland) - Week 7 was a crucial juncture in the Regular Season as several teams were fighting for their lives in the race for a spot in the 2020-21 Play-Offs.
As is always the case in the Basketball Champions League, players stepped up to challenge and we saw several great displays across the seven games of the week.
The standout performances of Week 7 include two players whose respective teams were on the cusp of contention for a Play-Offs ticket as well as three players who pushed the envelope and placed their teams to pole position for a berth in the next stage of the competition.
Kasey Shepherd is a floor general off the bench
No team in the BCL has suffered more from the consequences of the pandemic than Nizhny Novgorod, who had to change their travel, game and practice schedules numerous times throughout the first three months of the season.
These circumstances would be difficult for any player, let alone a point guard who has joined a new team and has to find his bearings and run an offense, but Kasey Shepherd managed to cope with it and his work showed on Wednesday, in Poland.
Ninzhy clinched their second win on the road in a week, 85-66 at Pszczólka Start Lublin as the 26-year-old American came off the bench and scored a game-high 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor (including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc) and dished 5 assists in what was his best performance so far in the BCL.
Ice runs through the veins of Finnish wolf Sasu Salin
Iberostar Tenerife fell behind Galatasaray 68-58 midway through the third quarter of their clash in Istanbul on Tuesday night, and a lesser team would start looking for excuses right around that time - after all the Spanish team were playing without Marcelinho Huertas, were playing on the road, and Galatasaray needed the win more.
But Tenerife are not a lesser team, they are in fact a BCL juggernaut, and one of their stalwarts, a veteran who plays to win every single game no matter what, took it upon himself to remind them.
Sasu Salin, Tenerife's own member of the Finnish wolfpack, drilled three triples in quick succession to single-handedly erase Galatasaray's advantage and inspired the visitors to turn a 10-point deficit into a 16-point lead in the final frame and escape with an 104-89 victory.
The 29-year-old sharp-shooter finished with a BCL career-high 34 points on an eye-popping 8 of 11 from downtown and added 6 assists and 2 steals to reach an efficiency rating of 36, tied for second-highest this season.
Vojtech Hruban reaches new milestone
They say that death and taxes are the only certainties of life, but when it comes to the BCL the only certainty since the first day of the competition is that Vojtech Hruban will find a way to score and contribute to ERA Nymburk winning games.
The competition's all-time leading scorer became on Tuesday the first ever player in BCL history to score 16 or more points in nine consecutive games (the last games of the 2019-20 season are also included in this streak) and continues on track to become the first player to break the 1,000-point barrier.
The Czech international scored his 844th BCL career point in Cyprus as he finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in Nymburk's 102-69 win over Keravnos, their largest-margin road win in their five-year history in the league.
Vafessa Fofana breaks cover in the BCL
Vafessa Fofana missed the first two games of the BCL season due to illness and he had a testimonial presence in his debut appearance, which was against AEK in Athens.
So when he crossed paths with the Greek team again on Tuesday night, but this time on his homecourt and with Cholet staring down the barrel of elimination from the Play-Offs race, the 28-year-old Frenchman decided it was time to show the BCL what he is capable of.
The Cholet forward seemed unstoppable down the stretch - certainly to defenders - as he drove to the AEK basket again and again and scored a game-high 22 points on 10 of 13 shooting from the field.
Fofana, who added 6 rebounds and 1 assist, registered an efficiency rating of 24 and Cholet were an impressive +19 with him on the floor, as they defeated their visitors 79-70 to celebrate their first win in the competition and stay in the race for a spot in the Play-Offs.
De'Shawn Stephens gets his reward the second time around
It's not like De'Shawn Stephens didn't give Dinamo Sassari fair warning: the Bakken Bears power forward had a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds when the two sides met in Denmark on November 18, albeit in that occasion the Italian team escaped with a 91-84 win.
But on Wednesday in the reverse fixture in Italy and with Bakken's backs to the wall as they were facing elimination from Play-Offs contention, Stephens and the Bears would not be denied.
The 31-year-old American came on halfway through the first quarter, when the Danes were trailing 16-7 and became the first player this season to post a double-double off the bench in two games.
Stephens sparked the Bakken comeback as he collected 15 points, 12 boards - 11 of which on the offensive glass to tie the all-time BCL record for most offensive rebounds in a single game - 3 assists and 2 blocks and registered an efficiency rating of 22 to pace the Bears to a famous 93-71 win at Sassari, their first road win in the competition after nine losses.