04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
20 Gavin Ware (JDA)
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Seven takeaways from the last week of Play-In Series

MIES (Switzerland) - We are all done with the Regular Season and the Play-In Series, finally getting the 16 names needed to move to the sweet 16 phase in Season Seven of the BCL. The last week of Play-Ins was just amazing, with the week ending in a game-winning, series-clinching shot that will be hard to match the rest of the way.

Here to help you through all the action of the week are our Seven Takeaways, in line with the perfection of number seven, and in line with Season Seven, too.

#1 Twice Jones

MHP RIESEN were on cruise control, or at least so they thought when they opened up a 22-point lead in Game 3 against Limoges CSP. That's because no BCL team has ever erased such a deficit on the road, and especially not in a game of this importance.

But coach Massimo Cancellieri made sure history was made on Wednesday. Limoges fought back, one point at a time, getting it below 20, getting it below 15, getting it below 10, and once that happened, you knew they were going to make Ludwigsburg work for every point the rest of the way.

They had a chance to tie or take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Coach gave the ball to Bryce Jones, allowing him to do whatever he wanted. Like on a practice court, Jones got to his spot - and we're talking about arguably the best midrange shooter in BCL this season - and knocked it down to send the game to overtime.

Neither team was able to break away there, so Cancellieri had the same idea for the final possession in OT. And the result was also the same - Jones' long two, at the buzzer, 96-94 Limoges CSP, game over, season over for MHP RIESEN, just an hour or so after they owned that 22-point lead.

Two big shots for Jones, who finished with 26 points and 9 assists on the day.

Just like that, Limoges CSP, who were an 0-3 team to start the season -- with a 20-point defeat to VEF Riga, too -- are among the best 16 in the BCL. They have won five of their last six BCL games, after being 1-7 in their first eight in this League.

Comeback kings.

#2 Opposite direction for Ludwigsburg

Completely opposite to Limoges' slow start was MHP RIESEN's 3-0 start to the Regular Season, with road wins over both Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and Darussafaka. They were so dominant to start the season, it felt like they cannot lose top spot in that group.

However, they failed to convert their first match point against Dacka at home. Failed to convert the second one against Jerusalem at home. Failed to finish things off on the road in Limoges. Failed to see a 22-point lead to the end in Game 3.

Last season they didn't miss a single opportunity en route to third place in the BCL. This season will definitely leave a bad taste in Ludwigsburg's mouth, because of all those aforementioned match points.

#3 Who needs threes?

Modern basketball is easy to read. Whoever made the most threes, probably won the game. Unless they are JDA Bourgogne Dijon, storming to a comfy win over Peristeri bwin in Game 3 with only four three-pointers made.

The final score 89-82 is even more impressive when you consider only 12 of those 89 points came from deep. So how did coach Nenad Markovic's men do their job?

Defense to offense. Dijon were +16 in points from turnovers, +16 in fast break points, +24 in points in the paint. They forced 19 Peristeri turnovers, and 11 of those were also Dijon steals, leading to dunks and more dunks and highlights all day long.

Gavin Ware went 10-of-10 from the field for 20 points, Markis McDuffie also dunked his way to 20, Gregor Hrovat did a bit of everything with 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists, David Brembly did not miss from the field for 10 points, and then, there's David Holston.

The legend of the club (and the BCL, too) finished with 10 points and 10 assists, his sixth game with 10+ assists, trailing only Marcelinho Huertas and Joe Ragland in that department - both have 10 games with 10+ assists.

Now we'll get to see Holston and Ragland going at it 1v1 in the Round of 16!

#4 Bilan climbs the ladder

Peristeri's season comes to a close, and it was a memorable one. They defeated the defending champs Lenovo Tenerife early on, they had stellar performances from Sylvain Francisco all season long, they gave us a shot of seeing coach Vassilis Spanoulis, and they benefited from Miro Bilan reaching historical numbers.

The Croatian big guy finishes the season with 758 career points in the BCL - only Giorgi Shermadini and Vojtech Hruban have more. He is also the all-time rebounding leader, but that could be gone once Tim Abromaitis gets back on the court in the Round of 16.

Impressive run by Peristeri. Just now impressive enough to see sweet sixteen.

#5 Record-tying Jerry Blocksiele

Bahcesehir College were also in a dramatic overtime game this week, edging out Belgian champs Filou Oostende 87-81 in Istanbul to advance to the Round of 16. It was all about Jerry Boutsiele shot blocking, and shot making.

The big guy finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 7 BLOCKS! That tied the all-time BCL record for blocks in a single game, he is the fourth man to get seven in a game, after Sean Denison, Octavius Ellis and Emanuel Cate did it before we got to 2020s.

#6 Toughest home court?

The arena was jam packed in Vilnius, helping the Lithuanian champs reach the Round of 16 at the expense of PAOK mateco. Rytas Vilnius won the game 82-63, simply riding the wave of their fans' song throughout 40 minutes.

They will feel confident going into the Round of 16, knowing they have three more games in front of that loud crowd. In fact, some would consider them favorites to advance to the Round of 16 in a group with Telekom Baskets Bonn, BAXI Manresa and Bahcesehir College.

Marcus Foster is in MVP talks, Martynas Echodas is trying to dunk everything, Elvar Fridriksson has all the little point guard tricks you need... It all goes up a notch when they are at home, so keep an eye on them the rest of the way.

#7 Round of 16 groups

Now we know everything. Group I will be half-French, half-Israeli with SIG Strasbourg, JDA Bourgogne Dijon, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and Hapoel Atsmon Holon.

Group J has Telekom Baskets Bonn, BAXI Manresa, Bahcesehir College and Rytas Vilnius.

Group K is all about history with Galatasaray Nef, Unicaja, AEK and Limoges CSP.

Group L will see Darussafaka search for Spanish lessons as they face Lenovo Tenerife, UCAM Murcia and Surne Bilbao.

Only 16 teams left! No time to rest, the Round of 16 starts next week already!


Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic

Igor Curkovic is a Basketball Champions League writer and editor since day one of the competition, specializing in Power Rankings and his Takeaways on Gamedays. When he's not covering basketball, he's probably watching a Hajduk Split game somewhere.