FMP Meridian erase 10-point deficit against Rio Breogan; Budivelnyk dominant
MIES (Switzerland) - Rio Breogan will not be the newest Spanish addition to the Basketball Champions League, as they were defeated in the Quarter-Finals in Belgrade by the hosts, FMP Meridian. Seven more games were played on a busy Wednesday that marked the start of the seventh season of the BCL.
The big game of the day was in Belgrade. FMP Meridian were drawn up against Rio Breogan, and they had to battle hard to erase a double digit deficit in the third quarter. They were down 44-34, and it got them so mad that they went on a 21-3 run to take a comfortable lead into the fourth quarter.
It finished 76-64, coach Nenad Stefanovic will be happy with FMP's defensive efforts as they held Rio Breogan to 5-of-21 shooting from beyond the arc. Paulius Valinskas led the way with 14 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, and FMP Meridian were a +25 team with him on the floor.
Trent Frazier was also impressive in the backcourt, picking up an 11-point, 10-assist double-double, Ebuka Izundu had 11 points and 8 rebounds, Nikola Jankovic had 11 points off the bench.
Nemanja Nenadic had 17 points, Ethan Happ added 14 in a losing effort for Breogan.
FMP Meridian will now play Opava from Czech Republic in the Semi-Finals in Belgrade. The other pairing has Bakken Bears facing Swans Gmunden, who are still counting their blessings after the thriller finish in the Quarter-Finals.
The Austrian League runners-up had possession to win the game with 20 seconds remaining against Parnu Sadam. The Estonian champs picked their pockets, but instead of running the court to win the game, Sverre Aav fumbled the ball, which fell straight into Urald King's arms.
The big man said thank you by laying it up and winning the game 82-80 as time expired. He was also the top performer of the game with 23 points and 11 rebounds, sending the Swans towards the Bears in the Semis.
Heroes and Patriots advancing in Malaga
In Spain, Unicaja learned the name of their Semi-Finals opponent. They will face Heroes Den Bosch, who solved their Siauliai problems in the first half already, building a 50-28 lead at the break. The Lithuanian side gave it all they had in the third quarter, but could not close the gap, 85-73 was the final score.
The Dutch champions were sharing the ball beautifully throughout the game, dishing out 21 assists compared to Siauliai's 10, and Emmett Naar was responsible for 17 points and 7 assists. Verners Kohs had 17 points in 19 minutes off the bench, Dutch Finals MVP Thomas van der Mars put together a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double with 3 blocks for good measure.
Kyle Mangas and Donatas Sabeckis had 16 each for Siauliai, but they would've struggled against any kind of opponent with just 12 bench points.
On the other end of the draw in Malaga, Karhu Kauhajoki will meet Patrioti Levice in the Semi-Finals. Slovak champs held Egis Kormend to just 11 points in the third quarter, making the big step towards a 79-70 win.
Miha Lapornik had 19 points, Deshawn Freeman scored 18 off the bench, Boris Bojanovsky did his thing with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks, Drasko Knezevic was also in double figures with 10 points for coach Michal Madzin. Wendell Mitchell's 20-point effort was not enough for Kormend.
Hosts eliminated in North Macedonia
TFT Skopje were hoping for a Cinderella story in North Macedonia, but Niners Chemnitz had no mercy for their hosts in the Quarter-Finals. The German side flirted with triple digits, and enjoyed a 96-77 win over TFT.
Marko Filipovity had a big night, scoring 26 points in 25 minutes of work, Arnas Velicka and Shonn Miller had 15 each, Matt Mooney and Mindaugas Susinskas combined for 26 to keep coach Rodrigo Pastore happy on the sidelines.
Lachlan Anderson had 27 points for the home team, but it wasn't enough. Niners move on to the Semi-Finals, they will face Fribourg Olympic there.
Tofas Bursa are up against CSO Voluntari in the other Semi-Final in North Macedonia. Tekele Cotton had 19 points and 6 rebounds to lead Voluntari to a 70-61 win over the Leicester Riders, meaning we are a step closer to having another Romanian team in the BCL, while missing out on a team from Great Britain once again.
Budivelnyk impressive in Portugal
The biggest win of the day belongs to Budivelnyk, who dismantled Norrkoping Dolphins 87-51 in Lisbon, Portugal. James Murray-Boyles was the only man in double figures for the Dolphins with 14 points, while the Ukrainian team had 11 different scorers.
Anthony Barber led the scoring with 18, Johnny Berhanemeskel got 16 off the bench, Archie Goodwin scored 12 points, and Bogdan Bliznyuk added 10 to the mix. Budivelnyk are facing Brose Bamberg in the Semi-Finals.
In the other Semi-Final, S.L. Benfica enjoyed the cheers from their fans for nearly two hours as the song from the stands would not stop in a massive 92-67 win over Kosovo champions Golden Eagle Ylli.
The Portuguese record champions knocked down 16 three-pointers on 43 percent accuracy, opening the gap in a game which was tied at 42-all at the half. Terrell Carter and Jose Barbosa scored 15 apiece, national treasures Betinho Gomes and Tomas Barroso both had 12, as ten different players scored for Benfica.
Muhammed Bashir Ahmed was the top scorer of the day, with 27 points for Ylli, but Kosovo won't have a team in the BCL this season.
Semi-Finals pairings (Friday, September 23)
Skopje, North Macedonia - winner of the tournament goes to Group A (SIG Strasbourg, UCAM Murcia, Falco Vulcano Szombathely)
- CSO Voluntari v Tofas Bursa 18:00 CET
- Fribourg Olympic v Niners Chemnitz 21:00 CET
Malaga, Spain - winner of the tournament goes to Group G (JDA Bourgogne Dijon, Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari, PAOK mateco)
- Karhu Kauhajoki v Patrioti Levice 17:30 CET
- Unicaja v Heroes Den Bosch 20:30 CET
Lisbon, Portugal - winner of the tournament goes to Group F (BAXI Manresa, VEF Riga, Limoges CSP)
- Brose Bamberg v Budivelnyk 19:00 CET
- Keravnos v S.L. Benfica 21:00 CET
Belgrade, Serbia - winner of the tournament goes to Group E (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, Darussafaka)
- Bakken Bears v Swans Gmunden 17:00 CET
- Opava v FMP Meridian 20:00 CET