17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
33 David Mccormack (GALA)
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Wednesday recap: McCormack wins thriller for Galatasaray on final possession

MIES (Switzerland) - The first games in six Play-In series were played on Wednesday, and the most exciting came down to the wire, as David McCormack converted the game-winning and-one to earn Galatasaray EKMAS a 1-0 lead over Bertram Derthona Tortona with a road win.

Both teams had their chances to put the game out of their opponents' reach before the final stretch, but if there's one thing we've learned across eight seasons of the Basketball Champions League, it's that games aren't over until they are over.

Galatasaray opened up a 68-57 lead with just two minutes to play in Italy. They were still up by 7 as the game entered the final minute . They led by 4 when Retin Obasohan missed a free-throw with just over 40 seconds to play, and Jonah Radebaugh secured the rebound.

However, Radebaugh turned the ball over, and Luca Severini knocked down a three-pointer to cut the gap to just one point. Klemen Prepelic made it 69-67 for Galatasaray, only for Tomasso Baldasso to sprint down the floor and hit a big pull-up three-pointer for Tortona to grab the lead.

But coach Zvezdan Mitrovic had one last timeout, and demonstrated why he is considered one of the greatest BCL coaches of all time.

Instead of giving the ball to Prepelic, he drew up a play to put four players way beyond the three-point arc, opening up the middle completely. With more room to work with, David McCormack delivered, hitting the game-winning shot.

Tortona did have one last attempt, but Baldasso's off balance three-pointer did not fall at the buzzer. Galatasaray won 71-70, proving once more how tough this competition is.

That's because Tortona went 5-1 in the Regular Season, and lost out to UCAM Murcia on points difference in the battle for the direct ticket to the Round of 16, while Galatasaray had an elimination scare in their group ahead of the game against SL Benfica, and yet, the Italians are now on the ropes, while the Turks need a win at home to advance among the 16 best teams of Season 8.

Galatasaray got 23 points from Prepelic and a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double from McCormack. Both of them came mid-season, giving a much-needed boost to Mitrovic's troops. Baldasso finished with a team-high 16 points off the bench for Tortona.

The Istanbul team was not the only one with a road win on Wednesday. There is something special about Peristeri bwin when they play in the big arena in Vilnius, and they proved it on Wednesday by stealing homecourt advantage from Rytas with a 110-92 win.

The only other time Peristeri scored 100+ points in a BCL game was back in October 2020, when they defeated Rytas in Vilnius with a nearly identical score, 106-88.

Joe Ragland had 25 points and 15 assists, becoming the first player to get 15+ points and 15+ assists in a BCL game, the first player with multiple 15+ assist games in BCL history, and establishing a lead in another category, with his third 20-10 game, more than any other player in League history.

Another Greek team pulled off an upset on the road. Promitheas Patras handed Le Mans Sarthe Basket a 78-68 defeat, but it was a much closer game than the final score may suggest.

MSB plotted a late comeback and they almost got away with it, too, cutting the gap to just two points in the final minute. Coach Ilias Papatheodorou knew what he needed to do to get some breathing space and avoid drama, handing the decision making to Hunter Hale.

The lefty guard came up big, hitting the game-clinching three-pointer to put Promitheas up 1-0 in the Play-Ins. Hale finished with 25 points, his BCL career-high by some distance.

Le Mans Sarthe Basket weren't the only French team to lose homecourt advantage on the day. Cholet Basket battled hard to earn it in the Regular Season, but they had no answer for Banco di Sardegna Sassari's best game of the season.

The Italians knocked down 14-of-25 three-pointers, dished out 18 of their 29 assists in the first half, and cruised to a 93-72 win. Six men were in double figures for coach Piero Bucchi, but Brandon Jefferson deserves a mention on his comeback to the BCL, getting 11 points and 10 assists.

It was his first career BCL double-double, an amazing stat considering his sublime season with SIG Strasbourg back in 2020-21, when he led them all the way to the Semi-Finals.

The only two teams with home wins were Pinar Karsiyaka and Hapoel Holon. Karsiyaka edged out Rio Breogan 89-85 thanks to a big Errick McCollum game off the bench, counting to 25 points, while Holon made Filou Oostende pay for every single turnover in a game played in Szombathely, Hungary.

Holon won it 80-70, with a 28-6 advantage in points from turnovers. Justin Smith led five men in double digits with 18 points and 8 boards.

All the Game 1 scores this week in the best-of-three Play-Ins:

  • PAOK mateco v Tofas Bursa: 63-95 (the winner moves to Group I with Unicaja, Strasbourg, Cholet/Sassari)
  • Cholet Basket v Banco di Sardegna Sassari: 72-93 (the winner moves to Group I with Unicaja, Strasbourg, PAOK/Tofas)
  • MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg v Darussafaka Lassa: 82-63  (the winner moves to Group J with Dijon, Bonn, Tortona/Galatasaray)
  • Bertram Derthona Tortona v Galatasaray EKMAS: 70-71 (the winner moves to Group J with Dijon, Bonn, Ludwigsburg/Darussafaka)
  • Rytas Vilnius v Peristeri bwin: 92-110 (the winner moves to Group K with Tenerife, Jerusalem, Karsiyaka/Breogan)
  • Pinar Karsiyaka v Rio Breogan: 89-85 (the winner moves to Group K with Tenerife, Jerusalem, Vilnius/Peristeri)
  • Hapoel Holon v Filou Oostende: 80-70 (the winner moves to Group L with AEK, Murcia, MSB/Promitheas)
  • Le Mans Sarthe Basket v Promitheas Patras: 68-78 (the winner moves to Group L with AEK, Murcia, Holon/Oostende)