17 October, 2023
05 May, 2024
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Wednesday recap: Ragland gets Peristeri to Round of 16, three series go to Game 3

MIES (Switzerland) - Joe Ragland put on another show for the yellow-and-blue fans, preventing a miraculous Rytas Vilnius comeback to send Peristeri bwin to the Round of 16 instead.

Peristeri must love playing against Rytas as their two top-scoring games in BCL history came against the Vilnius side. On Wednesday, once the Greek side opened up a 19-point lead in the third quarter, most of the followers of this Play-Ins matchup expected the rest of the game to be a one-way street.

Coach Giedrius Zibenas was not among them, though. Rytas played 15 of their finest minutes of the season to come all the way back and take their first lead of the game on a typical Martynas Echodas hook with three minutes left to play.

That just sparked another clutch performance by Ragland. Coach Vassilis Spanoulis gave him the reins, and the lefty point guard delivered a layup for Peristeri to take the lead back. He followed up with his 10th assist of the night, setting up Nemanja Dangubic for a big triple with just a minute to play.

That made it a four-point Peristeri lead, leaving Rytas without gas to fuel another comeback. It finished 83-80 for Peristeri, who enter the sweet 16 of the BCL for the first time since 2020.

"I like the way Ragland connects with the big guys, with all his teammates. He is a true point guard and you can see how he controls [the game] with calm, with patience, he was truly the leader in this series," Rytas coach Zibenas said afterwards, giving a lot of credit to the man who destroyed his defensive schemes.

Ragland had 17 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, Trevor Thompson also pulled down a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Marcus Foster scored 20 for Rytas.

Peristeri's job will not be any easier in the Round of 16. They are in Group K, alongside two-time champs Lenovo Tenerife, last season's runners-up Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem and the final team is yet to be determined after Rio Breogan fought back to tie the series against Pinar Karsiyaka.

Vernon Carey Jr was his usual self in the first half, going 5-of-5 from the field for 14 points before the break, but the other break did not happen in this one, as Rio Breogan's intensity never let off.

Instead, Ben McLemore took over. The American shooting guard is enjoying his new home in Europe, and with 24 points in 24 minutes of action, he was the biggest reason why Rio Breogan ended the game with an 80-73 win.

Karsiyaka's road woes continue as this was their 10th consecutive defeat away from home in the Basketball Champions League. Luckily for coach Ufuk Sarica, they will be back home for the decider next week.

Darussafaka Lassa will also be in a Game 3 next week, but on the road, after taking care of business against MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg in Istanbul on Wednesday.

A 15-point, 15-rebound double-double from Josh Carlton allowed Dacka to stay in control during the entire night and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman timed all of his shots to perfection to finish with a team-high 17 points, not allowing Ludwigsburg to make it interesting late in the game.


Darussafaka prevailed 83-72, meaning we get another win-of-go-home Game 3 on Tuesday.

The day finished with a third team lamenting a wasted match-point,  this time in Italy. Banco di Sardegna Sassari had stunned Cholet Basket in France last week, but could not close out the series at home, as the French side celebrated a  95-91 road win.


Cholet enjoyed a monster game from Craig Randall II, who counted to 30 points in just his third BCL game.

It was his personal best in Europe, and he and his teammates can count on a packed arena in Cholet next week that will boost their team's chances of reaching the sweet 16.

The series moves back to France on Wednesday, and with all the other Game 3s tipping off earlier, it is now clear that the winner of the series between Sassari and Cholet will be the very last passenger to board the  flight to the Round of 16 in Season 8.