Freak City freaks out Budivelnyk: Bohacik, Wright-Foreman hit big shots in OT drama
MIES (Switzerland) - Only four more games are left in the Qualifying Rounds to determine the final passengers to the Regular Season. In the Semi-Finals, Brose Bamberg and Budivelnyk played out an instant classic in Lisbon.
There were 12 lead changes and no team was able to build a double digit lead in 45 minutes of basketball, that's how close it was from start to finish. Budivelnyk had a chance to ice the game from the free throw line at the end of the fourth quarter, but Johnny Berhanemeskel made only one of two to make it 82-80 with four seconds left on the game clock.
Then the good old ERA Nymburk connection paid off for Brose Bamberg. Coach Oren Amiel drew up a play for Jaromir Bohacik. It worked like a charm, the lefty forward was left all alone just outside of the painted area, knocking down the shot with ease to send the game to overtime.
From then on, it was time for Justin Wright-Foreman to shine. Another lefty on the squad, JWF took over in the extra five minutes, knocking down the biggest shot of the game, a beautiful three-pointer with three seconds to play, which set the final score at 97-94.
Wright-Foreman had 33 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Christian Sengfelder is still hot from the FIBA EuroBasket 2022, with 20 tonight, and Bohacik finished with 15. Berhanemeskel had 27 in a losing effort.
Bamberg will face the hosts S.L. Benfica in the Final on Sunday. Portuguese champs played the late tip-off game against Keravnos, and the Cypriot League winners managed to keep it close until the final period.
That's when Benfica took over, switching to a small-ball lineup with Ivan Almeida playing the point forward and Maik Zirbes being the only big guy in the middle. That created an 8-0 start to the fourth quarter, which then turned into a 13-2 partial score, putting more daylight between the teams.
Almeida was the man of the hour for the hosts, getting 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Nikos Stylianou scored 18 for Keravnos, Deondre Burns led the late charge with 16 points, but Benfica won it 73-65, backed by their loud crowd. The number of fans in the stands is increasing with each game, it seems like we are in for a treat in the Final in Portugal.
Kendrick Perry's world
Moving just a little bit to the east, Unicaja showed no mercy towards the Heroes Den Bosch in Malaga. Ibon Navarro's men scored 26 in the first quarter, and it turned out to be their lowest scoring quarter of the game, as they had 27, 30 and 31 in the other three.
It finished 114-58, with Kendrick Perry getting a lot of love from the crowd for his 22 points, 7 assists and 0 turnovers in just 18 minutes of action. Perry knocked down five-of-seven from the three-point area, but the standing ovation wasn't reserved for him. Dario Brizuela and Alberto Diaz both played in this one, just days after winning the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 with Spain.
They are now just a game away from reaching the Regular Season in BCL, too, as part of a September to remember. Patrioti Levice will be on the other side in the Final, coming in with a lot of confidence after their 81-57 win over Finnish champions Karhu Kauhajoki.
Deshawn Freeman was unstoppable off the bench, collecting 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Patriots, Ben Kovac was another non-starter in double digits with 17 for coach Michal Madzin. Karhu hoped they could make it more challenging from deep, but shot just 7-of-33 from beyond the arc.
Another Frazier double-double
In Belgrade, it is time to talk about Trent Frazier. The rookie is adjusting to European basketball quickly, and he took FMP Meridian straight into the Final with his second double-double in as many games, both coming in points and assists.
Frazier had 16 points and 12 assists, Ebuka Izundu dunked his way to 18 points, Nenad Nerandzic and Aleksa Stepanovic combined for 24 off the bench. The final score: 92-76, ending Opava's dreams of making it to the Group Stage for the second time in BCL. Jakub Sirina was their best player with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
FMP await the Bakken Bears in Sunday's decider. The perennial Danish champions were on another level against Swans Gmunden, winning 83-65, with the usual suspects doing most of the damage. Ryan Evans had 13 points, Michel Diouf 12 with 8 boards, and the former Danish League MVP Skyler Bowlin got 14 on four triples made.
Deng Adel was the top scorer for the winners with 16 points, Toni Blazan had 13 for the losing side. Austrian team had 21 turnovers to 15 assists, they shot 5-of-21 from three-point range, not even close to Bakken's 8-of-19 from the same distance.
Tofas going big
Finally, we're in Skopje, North Macedonia. Tofas Bursa defeated CSO Voluntari 68-57 by going big, and dominating inside the arc, instead of outside of it like they did over the last couple of seasons. Tofas has 16 offensive rebounds, won the second chance by 10, won the points in the paint by 10, too.
Two familiar faces had big games for Tofas. Tyler Ennis had 13 points, Suleiman Braimoh introduced himself to the new team with 14 points and 10 rebounds. However, it was the new guy that made the headlines. Rob Gray showed up with 24 points of his own, shooting 13-of-15 from the free throw line.
Und da ist Nummer 2 von 3! 💪💪💪 Wir gewinnen gegen Fribourg Olympic Basket 93:70 und ziehen damit ins Finale ein. 🧡— NINERS Chemnitz (@ninerschemnitz) September 23, 2022
➡️ Next: Tofas Bursa (25.09. I 20 Uhr I live auf YouTube)
📸 Ernesto Uhlmann #chemnitz #basketball #basketballcl pic.twitter.com/juaZhAR0wc
Tofas are up against the Niners Chemnitz in the Final. The youngest squad of the Qualifying Rounds will try to become the youngest team of the Regular Season, too, staying under the number 30 in the "player's age" department of this website.
Niners were +24 in the second and third quarter combined, more than enough to power through to a 93-70 win over the Swiss club. Marko Filipovity finished with a team-high 17 points, Nelson Weidemann deserves a mention for his all-round game with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Finals pairings (Sunday, September 25)
Skopje, North Macedonia - winner of the tournament goes to Group A (SIG Strasbourg, UCAM Murcia, Falco Vulcano Szombathely)
- Tofas Bursa v Niners Chemnitz 20:00 CET
Malaga, Spain - winner of the tournament goes to Group G (JDA Bourgogne Dijon, Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari, PAOK mateco)
- Unicaja v Patrioti Levice 12:30 CET
Lisbon, Portugal - winner of the tournament goes to Group F (BAXI Manresa, VEF Riga, Limoges CSP)
- Brose Bamberg v S.L. Benfica 18:00 CET
Belgrade, Serbia - winner of the tournament goes to Group E (Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg, Darussafaka)
- Bakken Bears v FMP Meridian 19:00 CET