Add it to the Mount Rushmore of Buzzer Beaters
MIES (Switzerland) - Limoges CSP moved into the Round of 16 in the most dramatic fashion possible. They were down by 22, away from home, made one tough shot to force overtime and then another at the buzzer for the win, sending last season's Final Four team MHP RIESEN packing already in January.
The biggest reason for the comeback? Bryce Jones, the hero of both of those aforementioned shots.
"That's a huge moment for me in my career. Those are the type of shots that every basketball player wants to take and make, and be in those kind of moments," he told championsleague.basketball.
Jones had 26 points and 9 assists and felt confident in his shot making ability, so much so, he wanted to end the game before it even got to overtime.
View this post on Instagram
"I wanted to go for a three, I'm not going to lie. I did want to go for a three, but I lost the ball. I tried to side step at first, but I didn't create enough space for three. That's when I passed it to Nico (Lang) and Nico passed it back. I got to figure out something else. I just took my time. Late in the game, you don't really want to be nervous, you really got to take your time and know that a little time is a lot."
MHP RIESEN were successful in closing out his first idea of going for a three. They were successful in defending his second idea, which was going left, but that crossover at the end of the fourth quarter would've been a Top 5 plays material even if it happened in the opening, and not the closing period.
"Everybody thinks that I like to go left because I'm a lefty. So once I backpedaled a little bit, I acted like I was going left. And of course, right! I kind of just felt him... disappear. When I didn't see him anymore, I was like 'okay, I'm free to shoot.' I didn't even think, I just went on autopilot."
Teams exchanged buckets and stops for the duration of overtime afterwards. MHP RIESEN thought it would be a good idea to go for a two late in the game, but numbers suggest otherwise - Limoges CSP allow just 44 percent shooting from inside the arc, the best defensive mark from the two-point area in the entire BCL.
They closed out two attempts from the hosts, secured the board and were ready to attack on the run. Coach Massimo Cancellieri already shared the plan with the players before that last possession, so the fact they couldn't call a timeout did not change the outcome of the game.
"When we got the last stop, I remember a coach said a couple of possession earlier that he wants the ball in my hands. So I ran to Hawk (Javontae Hawkins) like, 'bro, let me get the ball!' And I wanted a mismatch, I see the first guy came, I didn't want that mismatch, I wanted (Justin) Johnson."
Switch happened, Jones was ready to close out the series.
"And once I got the right switch on me, I felt confident that I could just get my shot off. I just wanted to see if I could turn the corner, and I couldn't. I just went, let me just go into my step back. And I waited for him to jump. Once he jumped, I just released it."
The shot went in, and it was heard all around the world, with BCL's video of it being shared hundreds of times. Everything about it was poetic, the fact that it was Jones, Limoges' unsung hero all season long, the fact that it crowned a 22-point comeback, the largest on the road in BCL history, the fact that Limoges were an 0-3 team to start the Regular Season.
A pair of Jones' daggers in Ludwigsburg, and all of a sudden nobody wants to see Limoges CSP at the other end in the Round of 16.
"It's definitely on my Mount Rushmore. I had some buzzer beaters before, but this one here, being at like the timing of my career of playing on (BCL) platform, playing Europe... It's my first year doing it, playing an elimination game, like do-or-die game, just being a professional and doing that is just crazy."
Crazy is what we do at BCL. Week in, week out, for the past seven seasons. Consider this fitting in.