17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
77 Vojtech Hruban (CHO)
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Wednesday recap: All-time leading scorer settles French rendezvous

MIES (Switzerland) - A three-game Wednesday provided plenty of excitement, with Cholet Basket and Unicaja both erasing double-digit deficits to protect homecourt. Meanwhile, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem won in overtime in Greece.

In France, SIG Strasbourg thought they had figured out their domestic league rivals Cholet Basket, opening the game with a 22-6 lead on the road. Their hosts quickly came back, but Strasbourg had a double-digit advantage throughout the third quarter.

With coach Laurent Vila needing something special to spark a comeback, he put the ball into the hands of someone special. Vojtech Hruban must have watched Giorgi Shermadini's performance on Tuesday, and felt like his all-time lead in points scored in the BCL was in jeopardy, so he decided to put on a show in the second half.

The Czech sniper knocked down three triples in the fourth quarter, five in the second half and finished the game with 18 points in 18 minutes, taking his all-time tally to 1,063 points, 43 clear of Shermadini on top of the scoring charts.

The last time Hruban made five three-pointers in a BCL game was also against a French team, against JDA Bourgogne Dijon, back in December 2018.

The man who made Hruban's heroics possible was Emmanuel Nzekwesi. Cholet's big guy had a strong first half, finishing the game with 23 points and 6 rebounds, missing just one field goal on the day. Craig Randall II knocked down four threes en route to 19 points, Gerald Ayayi collected 18 to give Cholet Basket a 98-93 win at home.

"Maybe the fact they are a French team made us start the game soft, but at halftime we understood this is the BCL, so the game is more intense and you have to be intense and make yourself be respected," Ayayi said afterwards.

Phil Booth led five men in double figures for Strasbourg with 17 points, and they made a big three-pointer at the buzzer to cut the gap to five points.

Since only the top two from each Round of 16 group advance to the Quarter-Finals, that three-pointer could help SIG's case for a better points difference in a potential tie.

Cholet went from -16 to +11 in their game, while Unicaja had an even greater seesaw, losing by 10, then leading by 20 against Tofas Bursa in Malaga.

With an 89-70 triumph, Unicaja equaled their best home run in the BCL: Not only they've won their fourth straight home game, but they scored 80 or more points in each of them.

Tyson Carter did a bit of everything with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a +30 in his 25 minutes on the court. Coach Ibon Navarro gave minutes to 11 different players, including the 2007-born prospect Guillermo Del Pino.

Tofas will feed on their hot start to the game, but need to figure out how to make it last for more than 10 minutes. Zeljko Sakic led the Turkish team in scoring with 21 points.

The two winning teams from Wednesday's games will face each other next week, Cholet being the home team in that one. SIG Strasbourg will travel to Turkiye to take on Tofas Bursa at the same time.

# Team P W L % For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 UNI Unicaja 1 1 0 100 89 70 19 89 70 2
2 CHO Cholet Basket 1 1 0 100 98 93 5 98 93 2
3 SIG SIG Strasbourg 1 0 1 0 93 98 -5 93 98 1
4 TOF Tofas Bursa 1 0 1 0 70 89 -19 70 89 1

In the first game of the day, Speedy Smith knocked down the biggest shot of the day, giving Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem a two-point win on the road in Greece. You can read all about it here.