FIBA Europe Cup - Tuesday Focus: Week 4

15 Idris Lasisi (Belfius Mons-Hainaut) (Photo: Jörn Wolter)
15 Idris Lasisi (Belfius Mons-Hainaut) - Telekom Baskets v Belfius Mons-Hainaut, 2017 FIBA Europe Cup, Bonn - Telekom Dome(Federal Republic of Germany), Regular Season, 2 November 2016

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – With half of the Regular Season complete, the tension is slowly building up for teams chasing a place in the Second Round of the FIBA Europe Cup

At this point of the competition, the pressure will be on those who did not start the campaign well and have catching up to do. While it might be premature to label some of the contests must-win, there are a number of clubs that need to start performing to keep their hopes of advancing to the next stage alive.

There are five FIBA Europe Cup games scheduled for this Tuesday and you can watch all of them LIVE and FREE on YouTube.com/fiba.

Kormend (1-2) v Limburg United (0-3), 20:30 CET

There are three more games remaining in the Regular Season for both Kormend and Limburg United, but this week’s match-up between them will be critical in the context of advancing to the Second Round.

Currently third in Group B, Kormend have an opportunity to increase their distance from the fourth-placed Limburg United and stay in the hunt for automatic qualification.

The fact that four best third-placed teams will also qualify for the next stage of the competition opens up a world of opportunities, but a loss would complicate things for both teams, especially Limburg United who are yet to win a game.

Kormend won the first contest between the teams, registering a 100-85 victory at home in Hungary on the very first day of the new FIBA Europe Cup season.

Devon Saddler was then the top scorer of the game with 19 points for Kormend, Terry Allen had 18, while Lenzelle Smith chipped in with 17 points off the bench.

Since then, the Hungarian side lost both of its games against BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque and Donar Groningen, but did have a shot to steal the game on the road in Netherlands, only falling short 79-74 after a poor fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Limburg United have unsuccesfully been chasing its maiden international victory. It has escaped them on all three tries in the FIBA Europe Cup so far.

After the 15-point opening-night loss to Kormend, the Hasselt club lost to Groningen and Gravelines by single digits but could not lift the spell even with Seth Tuttle playing out of his mind.

The 24-year-old American big man headlined last week’s Top Performers list with a league-best performance index of 36 after scoring 28 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists against Gravelines.

Sodertlaje Kings (1-1) v Belfius Mons-Hainaut (0-2), 20:30 CET

In most groups, the halfway point of the Regular Season signalled there were three games left before the Second Round, but things are even closer to the culmination in three-team Group C.

With two games left for Sodertalje Kings, Belfius Mons-Hainaut and group leaders Telekom Baskets, who are not in action this week, it is now a matter of do-or-die for the Belfius who are currently last in the standings.

After losing the first game against the Swedish champions on the road, the Mons-Hainaut side needs to win Tuesday’s game in order to avoid finishing last.

The first duel between the sides finished with a seemingly convincing 80-68 victory for Sodertalje, but the Kings only took over the game in the second half, outscoring their Belgian opponents by 16 points after the intermission.

Things are less dramatic for Sodertalje who are now 1-1 and could still top the group even with a loss in the return leg in Belgium. However, victory margins and points differential could come into equation at this point.

Mons-Hainaut will have to do something about Tylor Ongwae who scored 20 points in the first meeting between the sides and Toni Bizaca who had 18 points and 9 boards and is among the top scorers and rebounders in the competition.

On the other end of the floor, the Belgian club still has not found a dominant go-to player on its roster. J.J. Mann, Tre Demps and Idris Lasisi are all averaging double figures, but none of them crack the Top 50 in the entire league.