The Great Eight: Randle leads the Queen to 3-0, Randolph keeps Jerusalem perfect
MIES (Switzerland) - Wednesday featured four games and saw AEK BETSSON BC and Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem as the biggest winners as the 2018 champs rose to 3-0, while the 2023 runners-up climbed to 2-0.
In line with this being Season 8, we've gone through the numbers and picked out the most impressive ones in the eight key categories. First things first, here are the results of the day:
- King Szczecin v AEK BETSSON BC 77-86
- Telekom Baskets Bonn v Rio Breogan 86-71
- Lenovo Tenerife v VEF Riga 76-55
- SL Benfica v Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 66-84
Now, the Great Eight stats, featuring the best players of the day:
This is becoming the usual recipe for Lenovo Tenerife and coach Txus Vidorreta. They have had their fair share of slow starts this season, and VEF Riga opened up an 11-point lead on the road in San Cristobal de La Laguna.
However, these guys are way too experienced not to figure the game out along the way. Rest assured, coach Vidorreta must have been very vocal during the halftime team talk, because a different kind of Tenerife showed up in the third and fourth quarter, allowing a total of 19 points after the break - VEF had that same tally in the first quarter alone.
So while the defense functioned, it was up to the offense to win the game. Jaime Fernandez decided it was time for his best BCL game, ever, finishing with a BCL career-high 22 points, one point above his previous mark set with Unicaja.
Fernandez came off the bench to hit 7-of-15 from the field, with 6-of-7 from the line and 7 assists, single-handedly running that fast-flowing Tenerife offense.
They are up to 2-1 now, in a three-way tie with Cholet Basket and Darussafaka Lassa. VEF Riga drop to 0-3.
SL Benfica have one of the most interesting defensive schemes in all of Europe, with active hands and numerous deflections and steals, which is how they became a BCL regular team, and even more, a contender to reach the Round of 16.
But on this day, they found out there are levels to other teams' defense. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem kept them at bay in Lisbon, holding them to 66 points, and winning the rebounding battle 40-33.
Levi Randolph was brilliant once again. Not only did he have 9 rebounds on the day, the most in the entire BCL on Wednesday, he also scored 18 points, with 6 assists and no turnovers, getting an efficiency rating of 21. All those stats - points, rebounds, assists, efficiency - Levi had team-highs in each category.
The season is still young, Jerusalem have only played a couple of games and won both, but Randolph is the anchor of coach Aleksandar Dzikic's system, looking like an MVP contender already.
Honorable mention: King Szczecin's Zac Cuthbertson with 9 rebounds in a losing effort against AEK.
Benfica struggled shooting the ball, but Toney Douglas still picked up 9 assists, the most on the day. They dropped to 1-1, tied with PAOK mateco, just ahead of Galatasaray EKMAS at 0-2, just behind Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem at 2-0.
There is something in the air with Spanish teams and steals. Justin Anderson and Erik Quintela both had 4 steals for Rio Breogan, but that was nowhere near enough to upset the defending champs in Bonn, Germany.
Jaime Fernandez also stole the ball four times for Tenerife against VEF Riga.
Benfica big guy Terrell Carter was the only man with multiple blocks with 2 against Jerusalem, matching his performance against PAOK last week.
Sasu Salin does not need to hit a bunch of three-pointers to make his presence felt. In fact, he made just a single triple, but was still the best Lenovo Tenerife player in terms of points difference, because Lenovo Tenerife were +21 on Riga in Sasu's 19 minutes of work.
Jaime Fernandez had 23, Zac Cuthbertson had 23, and the man who is becoming AEK BETSSON BC's biggest hero of the season also had 23 in terms of efficiency.
It was a close game in Poland, with the hosts leading by 7 early on, and AEK finding their way back through the depth of the bench, winning the bench points by 11. But it took another gigantic effort from deep to win the game on the floor in the end.
In a reminder of his recent exploits against Banco di Sardegna Sassari in Italy, Chasson Randle pulled off the same trick against King Szczecin in Poland. He made four triples, finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and no turnovers, was +13 in the game and matched the highest efficiency rating of the day.
Randle also had 18 points against Sassari and he sneaked in a 20-point outing in the Greek League over the weekend between the two BCL 18-pointers, which speaks volumes of his current form. He's on fire, AEK are a better team when he does his thing, and they are only the second 3-0 team in the BCL right now, alongside Unicaja.
That's not the only similarity with Unicaja, because AEK also have two wins more than anybody else in their group. King Szczecin, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and Banco di Sardegna Sassari are all at 1-2, meaning AEK are already inching closer to the Round of 16.
Most three-pointers made
Randle with four, Betinho Gomes with 4 for Benfica in a loss, Tony Meier with 4 for King Szczecin in a loss.