04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
23 Toney Douglas (SLB), 11 Bryce Jones (CSP)
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Group F: Limoges' big second half sends Manresa to Round of 16

MIES (Switzerland) - SL Benfica had it all in their hands, leading the group, leading the game v Limoges CSP by 10 in the first half, but saw it all evaporate in the third quarter. Meanwhile, BAXI Manresa dodged a bullet at the buzzer to win the game in Riga, and claim top spot of the group, too.

That's because BAXI Manresa and SL Benfica finished the Regular Season with identical records (4-2), but the Spaniards won the head-to-head battles by nine points to take the tiebreaker. It proved decisive, Manresa will move straight to the Round of 16, while Benfica and Limoges have to go through the Play-In Series.

# Team P W L % Last 5 For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 MANR BAXI Manresa * 6 4 2 66.7   502 470 32 83.7 78.3 10
2 SLB S.L. Benfica ** 6 4 2 66.7   470 472 -2 78.3 78.7 10
3 CSP Limoges CSP ** 6 3 3 50.0   438 404 34 73 67.3 9
4 VEF VEF Riga 6 1 5 16.7   410 474 -64 68.3 79 7
Big turnaround in Portugal


SL Benfica were 40-30 up on Limoges CSP in the final minute of the first half. It looked perfect for them, Terrell Carter had 15 points before the break, the entire team committed just four turnovers in 20 minutes, and Limoges were held to one three-pointer made.

However, a different Limoges team came out of the locker room following their team-talks with coach Massimo Bulleri. He is usually the assistant coach, but had to take over due to head coach Massimo Cancellieri's illness.

Whatever Bulleri told his guys, it made a difference. Limoges held Benfica to just five points in the third quarter, and went on to win the second half 47-19! The final score was 79-59, Limoges finished at 3-3 after starting the season with three straight defeats.

The stats had a few gems, too. Limoges got just two points off the bench, the last two of the game, coming from 20-year-old Mohamed Sidibe. Bryce Jones was unstoppable with 26 points on the night, Desi Rodriguez had 20 with 8 rebounds, Wilfried Yeguete went all-round for 5 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists.

Carter finished with those 15 from the first half for Benfica. The Portuguese champs will at least have home court advantage in the Play-In Series in January, facing Darussafaka. Limoges CSP will have to steal one on the road against MHP RIESEN at the same time.

Drama at the buzzer in Riga

The fact that Limoges CSP were helping BAXI Manresa actually could've hurt last season's runners-up. Because they relaxed late in the game against VEF Riga in Latvia, almost letting an 11-point lead go to waste in the final five minutes of the game.

Kristers Zoriks led the improbable comeback for the Latvian champs, he finished with 24 points and 9 assists, and kept hitting big shots off the dribble. When Maris Gulbis hit his second three-pointer to cut the gap to two points in the final minute, it looked like Riga might pull it off.

After Jerrick Harding missed his shot for Manresa, the crowd got up in Riga. Everybody knew the final shot would go to Zoriks, he created one for himself and went for the win, but his three-pointer did not fall.

It finished 82-80 Manresa, they are through to Group J, where they will be next to Telekom Baskets Bonn and two other teams, to be determined after the Play-In Series.

Marcis Steinbergs enjoyed coming back to his homeland, the big Latvian forward led Manresa with 21 points. Nysier Brooks had a big game for VEF Riga, signing off with 24 points and 15 rebounds.