Denmon, Winston help Tofas stun PAOK; Graves still reigns in Ludwigsburg
MIES (Switzerland) - The Play-Ins tipped off on Tuesday and the first game saw Tofas Bursa steal homecourt advantage from PAOK mateco. Meanwhile, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg enjoyed another big game by Jayvon Graves and went 1-0 in their series against Darussafaka Lassa.
PAOK knew they were in trouble when they found out Kendall Smith and Michalis Tsairelis were not available for Game 1 against Tofas . Not even the loud support of the home fans could help after that, as Tofas quickly turned the game into a lop-sided affair.
Marcus Denmon and Cassius Winston formed a dynamic duo in the backcourt and led the way for Tofas by combining for 38 points on 7-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, as they took full advantage of PAOK's lack of depth in the guard positions.
Tofas cruised to a 95-63 win in Thessaloniki to earn a 1-0 series lead and a match point on their serve at home next week. If they manage to close out the series with a sweep, they will join Round of 16 Group I, where Unicaja and SIG Strasbourg await.
Denmon finished with 21 points on 5 three-pointers, Winston added 17 points and 8 assists to the mix, as Tofas dominated every single statistical category. Andrew Harrison scored 16 for PAOK, but they are one defeat away from elimination after starting the season 3-1.
This was Tofas' second win by 30 or more points this season, as they'd defeated Igokea m:tel by 34 in the Regular Season. Over the course of their previous three BCL seasons, they've had only one win by 30 or more points.
The other Tuesday game involved a Turkish club too, but Darussafaka Lassa would not be able to follow Tofas' example and pull off a win on the road against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg, who have one of the most powerful weapons at their disposal when they play in MHP Arena.
That weapon goes by the name of Jayvon Graves, who on Tuesday scored 21 points and added 6 assists and 5 rebounds for coach Josh King. Graves has gone north of 20 points in all four BCL home games this season, putting together five 20+ point games this season - no other player has so far scored 20+ in more than two games in Season 8 of the Basketball Champions League.
Ludwigsburg prevailed 82-63 as Graves got a lot of help from Elijah Childs, who picked up a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double, with 2 blocks and 2 steals also to his name, in 24 minutes off the bench.
Brendan Adams had 13 points for Darussafaka, but Ludwigsburg kept Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman under control the entire time, holding him to just 9 points on 1-of-7 shooting, nowhere near his back-to-back games with 25+ points in the end of December.
Ludwigsburg are now up 1-0, and need another win to join Round of 16 Group J. Fellow German side Telekom Baskets Bonn are already there, as are JDA Bourgogne Dijon.