Manresa spoil Benfica's home opener
LISBOA (Portugal) - BAXI Manresa remain as the lone unbeaten team at 3-0 in Group F of the Basketball Champions League after defeating S.L. Benfica (who were also previously undefeated) on the road, 97-78.
The 97 points scored by Manresa are the third most for them in an away game in the BCL after previously scoring 121 points v Torun and 103 points v Treviso.
Turning point: The first quarter saw the two teams combine for 58 points with Manresa holding a six-point edge. Manresa were able to slightly extend their lead to 58-49 at halftime, converting 9-of-14 three-point shots in the first half.
After trailing by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, Benfica finished the quarter on an 8-0 run to close their deficit to 76-65. Manresa didn't let Benfica continue their momentum or get to within striking distance in the final quarter, closing the game out with a 13-4 run in the final minutes.
Game hero: After scoring a total of 5 points in his first two BCL games this season, Manresa's Brancou Badio erupted tonight off the bench for 22 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 from three-point range. The 23-year-old scored 14 of his 22 points at halftime.
Stats don't lie: Manresa had seven players score in the first quarter and of those seven, four ended up scoring in double figures for the game. Manresa's bench outscored Benfica's 60-22 with Badio (22 points), Jerrick Harding (17 points) and Adam Waczynski (9 points) combining for 48 of those total bench points.
The 60 bench points are the most of any team in a BCL game so far this season.
Manresa also shot the ball more efficiently than Benfica, knocking down six more threes (13-7), shooting 44.8 percent from beyond the arc and taking advantage of their free-throw opportunities, making 11 more of them (22-of-26 compared to 11-of-15).
Bottom line: Manresa are now 3-0 and the Spanish club sit on top of the standings in Group F, while Benfica suffered their first loss of the 2022-23 BCL season and were led in defeat by Ivan Almeida who finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. The Portuguese club are now 2-1 in the group.
These two teams will square off again in their next game on Tuesday November 22, where Manresa will be the home team.
✌️ Double win for @BasquetManresa! Not only did they beat @modalidadesslb to remain the only unbeaten team in Group F - they did it on the road, taking that pole position towards the Round of 16. 😎 #BasketballCL pic.twitter.com/V3mxI6qDcs— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) October 25, 2022
"At the end of the first quarter, we recovered control [of the game]. I think generally, we played a good game, not a perfect game because in some moments, we were weak on defense with aggressivity." - Pedro Martinez, head coach BAXI Manresa
"We were just playing like we practice our way of playing: We were just running through our offense and getting to our space. We picked up the energy so we could play good defense and then turn it into a good offense." - Brancou Badio, BAXI Manresa
"I think it's two different parts of the game. The first half, we had some problems in transition defense. We improved in the second half, matching up better in the full court. With our defense that we play, we break the tempo that they [Manresa] are playing. The three-point shooting from the first half made the difference on this game." - Norberto Alves, head coach S.L. Benfica
"First of all, I think we gave up too many points in the first half. We figured out our defense a little better in the second half, but they had already established a lead, and we were spending the whole game trying to come back from 10 or 13 points. We had some mistakes even when we made our run. A lot of it was their [Manresa] running and finding open shots." - Aaron Broussard, S.L. Benfica