17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
77 Muhsin Yasar (DSK)
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Group C recap: Eight straight for Tenerife; Muhammad-Ali knocks out Riga

MIES (Switzerland) - Lenovo Tenerife made it eight of eight appearances in the Round of 16  of the Basketball Champions League  with their road win over Cholet Basket on Tuesday, while Darussafaka Lassa needed a BCL season-high 33 points from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman to see off VEF Riga and avoid elimination.

Cholet Basket knew they had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stun the two-time BCL champs and win the group, especially since they faced Tenerife at home in France. The game plan was to stick around for as long as possible and make the Spaniards nervous, but to no avail.

As the game progressed into the final ten minutes, even with the scores tied after three quarters, Txus Vidorreta's men never showed signs of panic. Instead, they knocked down seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back makes by Jaime Fernandez and Marcelinho Huertas to break the deadlock and make it a six-point Tenerife lead with three minutes to play.

They never looked back, picking up a 91-85 road win to finish the group on top. Bruno Fitipaldo led the scoring with 16 points, Huertas had 15 points and 8 assists in less than 25 minutes of action, while Aaron Doornekamp knocked down five threes for 15 points on the night.

Tenerife now move to Round of 16 Group K, where they will face Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and two other Play-In winners. The team from San Cristobal de La Laguna has played all eight BCL seasons to date, reached the sweet 16 phase every single time, and went all the way to the top in both 2017 and 2022.

Cholet got another big game by their runaway favorite for the Best Young Player award. Tidjane Salaun finished with a team-high 18 points, and the 18-year-old connected on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, taking his season total to 14-of-24 from the three-point range. Salaun went 9-of-11 in his last two BCL games!

The French team did not win the group, but they will at least have the home court advantage in the Play-Ins. Cholet will face the third-placed team in Group D (King Szczecin, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg or Banco di Sardegna Sassari) in a best-of-three matchup in January.

The other team Group C team in the Play-Ins will be Darussafaka Lassa. Despite losing most of their starters from the beginning of the season, they put on a performance for the ages, led by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

Dacka's shooting guard knocked down seven threes and finished with 33 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and efficiency rating 41. That was enough for an 87-81 win over VEF Riga, and Muhammad-Ali set in the process the new BCL records in both points and efficiency in the current season .

VEF Riga wasted an 8-point lead and Arnaldo Toro Barea's monster double-double of 21 points and 18 rebounds - 10 of them offensive - was sent straight to the recycle bin. The Latvian champs put together a solid lineup over the summer, but their European season is over in December.

Group C


# Team P W L % For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 LNTF Lenovo Tenerife 6 4 2 66.7 490 443 47 81.7 73.8 10
2 CHO Cholet Basket 6 3 3 50.0 485 495 -10 80.8 82.5 9
3 DSK Darüssafaka Lassa 6 3 3 50.0 488 500 -12 81.3 83.3 9
4 VEF VEF Riga 6 2 4 33.3 431 456 -25 71.8 76 8