04 October, 2022
14 May, 2023
3 Sylvain Francisco (PERI)
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Seven takeaways from Tuesday: First Peristeri OT, all set for a matchup of Hapoels in R16

MIES (Switzerland) - The Play-In Series continued this week, with Hapoel Atsmon Holon and AEK being the two clubs advancing to the Round of 16. Bahcesehir College and Peristeri bwin forced Game 3 in their respective pairings.

Here to help you cruise along all the action and milestones you potentially missed are our Seven Takeaways. Seven, as in Season Seven of the Basketball Champions League.

#1 First Peristeri overtime

Over the seven years of BCL action, we became the League of overtimes. It feels like there is at least one OT game every week, it feels like Umana Reyer Venezia and Banvit are still playing their legendary triple overtime game from the 2017-18 season, it feels like all the teams went through the experience of working overtime at least once.

Well, for the first time ever, Peristeri bwin played an overtime game, too. It could've all been over in regulation, Gregor Hrovat had a three-pointer to win it at the buzzer, but his shot went in...and out, preventing JDA Bourgogne Dijon from sweeping the Play-In Series.

Once they dodged that bullet, Vasilis Spanoulis' men decided they have to protect their home court in those extra five minutes. Backed by Theo Papaloukas sitting courtside, too, the Greek squad closed out the game without stress, winning it 92-88.

It was their highest scoring home game in BCL history, and it was their second biggest comeback, erasing a 13-point Dijon lead in this one. They won the game against Gaziantep which they trailed by 16, that one is still their number one comeback.

They tied the series and forced Game 3. Dijon missed a game-winner/series-ender, Peristeri lived to fight another day, so there's a feeling the momentum is on their side ahead of the decider.

"I don't know about any advantage. I have to prepare my team [to play] a final," coach Spanoulis said, feeling like it's a 50/50 game next week.

He got 19 points and 8 assists from Sylvain Francisco, and Miro Bilan put up 16 points to climb to third on the all-time scoring list in the BCL. Most importantly, Spanoulis got what he hoped for when he signed with Peristeri. The fans.

#2 Ducote joining the race for Best Young Player

JDA Bourgogne Dijon got a bit of scoring from everybody, and Gregor Hrovat was close to getting the third triple-double in BCL history, finishing with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. However, he wasn't the most impressive Dijon player on the day.

That's because Robin Ducote played the best game of his BCL career, counting to 21, hitting five threes, all done off the bench. Ducote is still 21, about to turn 22 later this month, and seeing him shine like this on a big stage feels so good for the Dijon front office.

He was brought to the club when he was a 15-year-old and took it one step at a time, before finally proving he could be right there next to guys like Hrovat, David Holston, Markis McDuffie and others.

Now he's up for the biggest test a young player can face. It's not about having one good game, it's about having a series of good games. Just look at Giordano Bortolani's last season: He averaged 20.0 points per game in the Round of 16, storming to the Best Young Player award.

It doesn't seem realistic Ducote could score in bunches like Bortolani, but this season sees him emerging as Bortolani's successor at the BCL Awards Ceremony.

#3 All-Israeli affair in the Round of 16

With Hapoel Atsmon Holon defeating Igokea m:tel 91-80 and sweeping the Play-In Series, we already know we'll have something special in the Round of 16. The Israeli champs will face their compatriots there.

Since the Round of 16 groups were drawn back in July, it was clear that Group E winners would be in the same group with the winner of Group C #2 v Group D #3. It turned out Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem won Group E, and Hapoel Atsmon Holon joined them as Group C runners-up.

It could've been even more impressive for Israeli basketball, because they could've had three teams in Group I. Bnei Ofek Dist Herzliya held that third spot in Group H for a long time, but Peristeri took it out of their hands on the final Regular Season Gameday.

This way, it's going to be SIG Strasbourg, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, Hapoel Atsmon Holon and the winner of Peristeri v Dijon in that Round of 16 group.

#4 More numbers for Ragland

Holon's point guard had 20 points and 13 assists against Igokea, getting his ninth points-assists double-double. He was already the leader in that category, Marcelinho Huertas has seven of those in BCL history.

Ragland also climbed over another former Holon player on the all-time list. He's up to 317 assists now, overtaking Tamir Blatt for fourth place, trailing only Marcelinho Huertas, Dusan Djordjevic and David Holston.

#5 Home court disadvantage

Basketball is weird sometimes. You have teams battling to reach home court advantage, then lose it on first try. You have teams stealing home court advantage, and failing to finish the job at home. All of that happened in the Bahcesehir College v Filou Oostende pairing.

Bahcesehir had their backs up against the wall, and decided to step up their defense. They won the game 77-64 in Belgium, holding Oostende to just 6-of-25 shooting from deep - they had more threes in a single quarter just a week ago in Istanbul.

Offensively, Bahcesehir just relied on their one-two punch to deliver the knockdown. Jamar Smith finished with 22 points, Jerry Boutsiele scored 17, the two of them combined for 14-of-23 shooting from the field, giving the FIBA Europe Cup champs another chance to book Round of 16 tickets.

The arena in Istanbul will be packed again, but Oostende know how to win over there. We're in for a thriller, for sure.

#6 Rebounding issues

In Game 1, Vrenz Bleijenbergh had 17 rebounds by himself. In Game 2, entire Filou Oostende squad had 24 rebounds. That's their lowest mark at home in seven seasons of the Basketball Champions League, and it's a big reason why they aren't through to the Round of 16.


#7 Add Akil to the MVP Race

AEK had their difficulties during the Regular Season, were on the brink of elimination already then, but instead of dropping out, they are flying way above expectations. The Queen swept Tofas Bursa 85-82, moved to Group K with Galatasaray Nef and Unicaja, and made us talk about Akil Mitchell's MVP potential.

We keep track of all the candidates in our MVP Race articles, and with AEK among the remaining 16 teams, there will be space for Akil Mitchell to plead his case.

Actually, the numbers do it for him. Mitchell has been in double figures in all eight games this season, he's averaging 16.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, and on Tuesday, he became the third player in BCL history with a 20/10/5 stat line. Akil finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists, causing a few raised eyebrows in Malaga and Istanbul.

They will have to figure out a way how to stop him, otherwise AEK could be back on track for another Final Four appearance.

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.