Tuesday recap: Wiley double-double crushes PAOK fans' hopes; Graves still unstoppable in Ludwigsburg
MIES (Switzerland) - Tofas Bursa, MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and Hapoel Holon are the next three passengers on the Round of 16 train after Play-Ins Game 3 action on Tuesday. Ludwigsburg and Holon took care of business at home, while Tofas won on the road, in front of a sellout crowd in Thessaloniki.
The Play-Ins brought the best out of Tofas big guy Austin Wiley. Heading into Game 3, the question was how does he bounce back from his 23-point, 16-rebound double-double at home in Bursa going to waste.
The answer? Wiley and Tofas came back with a bang. The Bursa team stunned the raucous crowd in Thessaloniki, stayed unfazed and just stormed through, allowing PAOK mateco to spend just 53 seconds of the game in the driver's seat.
Tofas' lead ballooned to 18 points in the second half and while PAOK did attempt a comeback, getting back to -5 in the fourth quarter, they ran out of gas and made this a Play-In series to remember - all three games were won by the road team, including Game 3, an 84-71 Tofas triumph.
Wiley had 11 points and 17 rebounds, becoming the first player in the history of the Basketball Champions League to get 15+ boards in back-to-back games. The 25-year-old big man grabbed 8 offensive rebounds in consecutive games, joining Vladimir Stimac as the only player to ever post this stat in a BCL game.
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Tofas now move to Round of 16 Group I, alongside Unicaja and SIG Strasbourg. The fourth contender will arrive on Wednesday, after Cholet Basket and Banco di Sardegna Sassari play in the third game of their series.
Then other Turkish team that was in action on Tuesday, Darussafaka Lassa, failed to hit Ctrl+C on that Tofas performance and Crtl+V on their Game 3 in Germany. MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg were never in trouble, charging for a 99-73 win to eliminate the club from Turkiye.
Ludwigsburg hit a club-high 18 three-pointers, four more than their previous record, and just three shy of the all-time BCL record of 21 threes, set by their compatriots Brose Bamberg in 2021.
Silas Melson had four triples, but it was all about Jayvon Graves once again. Coach Joshua King gave him the reins of the offense, Graves delivered with 21 points and 8 assists in just 26 minutes of work. That was Graves' fifth consecutive BCL home game with 20+ points and 5+ assists. Last season's MVP TJ Shorts II is the only player with six such games in a single BCL season.
The Giants from Germany will face Shorts' former team in the Round of 16. MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg and Telekom Baskets Bonn are in the same group, with JDA Bourgogne Dijon and Galatasaray EKMAS also in the mix.
In the game that concluded Tuesday action, Hapoel Holon escaped from a tight duel with Belgian champions Filou Oostende. Holon prevailed 78-72 and this means they win the Play-In series 2-1 and move forward, but this game was far from comfortable for coach Amit Schaerf and his men.
Holon led by 13 at one point, only to see Oostende mount a big comeback in the fourth quarter, as the Belgians even opened up a three-point lead with just over five minutes left to play.
But for Holon to stop the Belgians, they had to play the Belgian. Hans Vanwijn put on a defensive show, getting two big blocks when it mattered most, and allowing Justin Smith to fly this plane home safely.
Smith collected 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting, with 9 rebounds, giving him an efficiency rating of 36. Honorable mention goes out to CJ Harris, 16 points, 8 assists, +14 in his 28 minutes on the floor.
Hapoel Holon will play in Round of 16 Group L. AEK BETSSON BC, UCAM Murcia and Promitheas Patras are their next opponents.