17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
44 Speedy Smith (JLM)
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Wednesday recap: Jerusalem make a statement, hand Tenerife largest ever defeat

MIES (Switzerland) - As if being top of the Power Rankings and leading their Round of 16 group was not enough, Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem decided on Wednesday to send an even stronger message to the rest of the Basketball Champions League.

Last season's runners-up blew out two-time champions Lenovo Tenerife 85-61 in Belgrade, in what was the Spanish team's largest defeat in BCL history. A 22-point loss to Hereda San Pablo Burgos in 2021 was the heaviest loss of the Canary Islands team in the competition up until now.

Those are the only two instances of the 2017 and 2022 champions losing by more than 20 points across their 132-game long history in this competition.

The way Hapoel played was Tenerife-like, to make this ironic. Coach Ilias Kantzouris will be proud of his men's initial stellar defense, as they held Tenerife to just 6 first quarter points and 22 at the half, both new lowest marks for Tenerife.

The offense was in the right flow, too. When Levi Randolph and Speedy Smith made back-to-back three-pointers early in the second quarter, the scoreboard in the Aleksandar Nikolic arena showed an incredible 29-11 Jerusalem advantage .

Tenerife could not get anything going offensively all game long, shooting just 1-of-16 from three-point range in the first half and just trying to minimize the damage on the day.

Jerusalem are now the only unbeaten team in Group K. They got 21 points from Levi Randolph - he needs just 4 more to become the third man with 1,000 BCL career points, following Vojtech Hruban and Giorgi Shermadini - while Brynton Lemar got into double digits off the bench with 17.

Tenerife got 29 from Kyle Guy who made 11 of their 24 field goals of the night, but the yellow-and-blacks dropped to 2-1 after the first half of the Round of 16 games.

"When you have a long win streak you have pressure, every team wants to beat you, and then you have a loss like this and it brings you back to earth, it makes you work harder and maybe find mistakes you could not see before," said Marcelinho Huertas.

The other Group K clash, between Pinar Karsiyaka and Peristeri bwin,  in Izmir, Turkiye. turned out to be a high-paced game.

It had the packed stands and loud fans. It had the 15 lead changes. It had a mastermind on the road, this time in Joe Ragland with 18 points and 11 assists, his 14th career double-double, an all-time leading number in BCL.

And it had the usual home crowd hero.

Vitto Brown has delivered quite a few big fourth-quarter performances for Karsiyaka since he arrived in 2022. This time around he scored 11 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, propelling Ufuk Sarica's men to another home win, 93-88.

Darrun Hilliard made five threes for 18 points, Kenan Sipahi also scored 18, Vernon Carey got a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Errick McCollum finished with 10 to make it five Karsiyaka players in double figures.

Peristeri remain winless, while Karsiyaka now face a tough task after the February break: They need to win one or even two games on the road to stay in the hunt for the Quarter-Finals.

# Team P W L % For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 JLM Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 3 3 0 100 245 210 35 81.7 70 6
2 LNTF Lenovo Tenerife 3 2 1 66.7 256 250 6 85.3 83.3 5
3 KSK Pinar Karsiyaka 3 1 2 33.3 264 277 -13 88 92.3 4
4 PERI Peristeri bwin 3 0 3 0 231 259 -28 77 86.3 3

Last season's winners have no such issues. Telekom Baskets Bonn put the emphasis into "defending" when somebody mentions the defending champs, holding JDA Bourgogne Dijon to just 62 points at home to power their way to a  72-62 road win.

It was their second-best defensive output in BCL history. The only time they allowed fewer points was in December 2017, when Sidigas Avellino scored just 61 against Bonn.

Christian Sengfelder was big in the fourth quarter and his 5 straight points broke the deadlock as he finished with 13 on the night.

Brian Fobbs' clutch and-one bucket put the game beyond Dijon's reach, while Harald Frey had a typical pass-first point guard game with 2 points and 9 assists in less than 20 minutes of work.

Dijon played without David Holston, who watched from the bench as Ahmad Caver got 18 points, but they are in trouble now. They lost both of their home games in the Round of 16, meaning they will need to steal a win or two on the road in March.

# Team P W L % For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 BONN Telekom Baskets Bonn 3 3 0 100 241 213 28 80.3 71 6
2 LUD MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 3 2 1 66.7 264 242 22 88 80.7 5
3 JDA JDA Bourgogne Dijon 3 1 2 33.3 240 254 -14 80 84.7 4
4 GALA Galatasaray EKMAS 3 0 3 0 249 285 -36 83 95 3

In Group I, Tofas Bursa continued their unbeaten run in the Round of 16 at home. An 84-71 win over Cholet Basket was their sixth straight at home in the Round of 16 phase of the BCL (this includes the previous season).

Caleb Homesley scored a team-high 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc and Austin Wiley had 16 points and 10 rebounds, allowing Tofas to win this one without any stress.

Neal Sako had 13 points and 17 rebounds for Cholet who dropped to 1-2, one win behind Tofas, two behind the still perfect Unicaja.

# Team P W L % For Agt +/- FA AA  
1 UNI Unicaja 3 3 0 100 254 214 40 84.7 71.3 6
2 TOF Tofas Bursa 3 2 1 66.7 247 231 16 82.3 77 5
3 CHO Cholet Basket 3 1 2 33.3 243 263 -20 81 87.7 4
4 SIG SIG Strasbourg 3 0 3 0 234 270 -36 78 90 3

Action in the Round of 16 is now entering a one-month long pause, allowing the stage lights to shine brighter on domestic cup competitions all over the continent, followed by the national teams' break on the final weekend in February.

The second half of the Round of 16 tips off on March 5.