The Great Eight: Heroic Holon spoil Harald Frey's big night
MIES (Switzerland) - Everything is possible in the Basketball Champions League. Even losing a game in which you are +27 with your star player on the floor, which is exactly what happened to the defending champs Telekom Baskets Bonn against Hapoel Holon.
In line with this being Season 8, we went through all the individual numbers of the day, and selected the eight greatest stats from Wednesday's games.
First things first, here are all the results on a five-game Wednesday:
- Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem v Galatasaray EKMAS 99-96 (OT)
- Pinar Karsiyaka v EWE Baskets Oldenburg 85-83
- UCAM Murcia v Igokea m:tel 72-47
- Telekom Baskets Bonn v Hapoel Holon 74-75
- SL Benfica v PAOK mateco 94-72
Now, the eight numbers of the day:
Ivan Almeida became the first man to make 12 free throws without a miss in a BCL game since January 2021, when Bonzie Colson also went 12-of-12 from the line. Almeida, known as El Condor, flew high to finish with a day-high 28 points for SL Benfica.
Two equally impressive performances came from the overtime thriller in Belgrade. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem tipped off their BCL season with an instant classic matchup with Galatasaray EKMAS, a game which saw 11 lead changes in 45 minutes of action.
Galatasaray had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Speedy Smith found just what he needed - a decent look from beyond the arc to hit the biggest three-pointer of the day and send the game to overtime.
That's where coach Aleksandar Dzikic got a bit of everything from everyone. Levi Randolph started the run, Zach Hankins controlled the paint before fouling out, and the stage was set for Khadeen Carrington to seal the deal with four points in the closing seconds and give a winning start to Jerusalem.
Carrington finished with 27 points on the night, and matched the points total of Galatasaray's leader on the day. Akwasi Yeboah got his 27 by shooting 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, flirting with Sek Henry's record for most threes without a miss in a BCL game (7-of-7).
The best part about Almeida's, Carrington's and Yeboah's performances tonight? All three of them came off the bench!
A Benfica player again, as Makram Ben Romdhane grabbed 12 rebounds on the day, proving you can get a mention here without making a single field goal and finishing with just one point.
Telekom Baskets Bonn played their first game in Bonn since winning the BCL last season, but with no fans in attendance due to security reasons. Hapoel Holon put up a big fight and claimed the win in the end, despite nearly throwing the game away in the closing seconds.
They had everything in their hands with a five-point lead, but a late surge saw Bonn get a quick and-one, a big corner three, a steal and a chance to win it at the buzzer.
Harald Frey found Noah Kirkwood all alone in the left corner, but the shot bounced off the rim and prevented Bonn from tasting victory at home.
Frey was just short of 11 assists with that miss, but he was still the best passer of the day, dishing out 10 assists in 22 minutes of work.
That aforementioned last minute steal by Bonn was Ike Udanoh's fourth of the day, nobody had more.
Holon's Justin Smith, Benfica's Ben Romdhane and Terrell Carter all had 2 blocks, but the mention goes to Vernon Carey Jr, who also blocked a pair of shots.
That's because Pinar Karsiyaka's big guy played a crucial role in their second win of the season. He was a dominant figure inside the arc, and at 22 years of age, in his first international season, he already looks like an MVP candidate.
With his 15 points on 8 shots, Karsiyaka erased a 10-point deficit and bounced back after EWE Baskets Oldenburg had their own run to cut Pinar's 13-point lead.
It went down to the wire, which was the theme of the day obviously. Darrun Hilliard knocked down two gigantic three-pointers in the closing minutes, the fans blew the roof off of the arena and Oldenburg were sent to 0-2, when they could've easily been up at 2-0.
Terrell Carter did his thing for SL Benfica, earning the Thunder Carter nickname with 26 points in 28 minutes which saw Benfica being 28 points better than PAOK mateco.
But the absolutely mind blowing +/- of the day goes to Harald Frey. Telekom Baskets Bonn were a +27 team with their Norwegian point guard on the floor, despite the fact he played less than 23 minutes. And yet, somehow, the numbers get crazier because Bonn lost a game in which their best player was +27 in this department...
Back to Frey. He finished with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-9 from deep, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, a single turnover and efficiency rating of 33. That's a new BCL season-high for all players.
Most three-pointers made
Akwasi Yeboah struggled in his first six games with Galatasaray, hitting just two triples in eight attempts in all competitions. But he found his touch over the last four days, going 2-of-3 in a big role to win the game against Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League, and following it up with 7-of-8 makes against Jerusalem.
Yeboah missed his last shot, had he made it, it would've been a new BCL record for most threes made without a miss.