The week's big numbers: Le Portel make it 10 in a row; dime-dishing Hill tops assist leaderboard
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - ESSM Le Portel continued their unstoppable run in the FIBA Europe Cup, becoming one of only three teams in the history of the competition to pull off a double-digit winning streak.
Like every week, we take a deep dive into the most interesting events of the gameday through the lens of numbers and look to get you up to speed on all of the most important feats achieved by teams and individuals.
Heading into the final week of action in the FIBA Europe Cup and the Basketball Champions League, there are more question marks than answers about who is going to play in the Round of 16.
Only 5 of the 16 spots in the Play-Offs have been filled, with ESSM Le Portel, Nizhny Novgorod, Alba Fehervar, Bakken Bears and Dinamo Sassari holding tickets into the knock-out stages.
Alba Fehervar playmaker Kasey Hill has surpassed Doug Wiggins of Bakken Bears as the FIBA Europe Cup assist leader after registering his seventh game in a row with at least 5 assists.
After averaging 5.2 in the Regular Season, he has upped his assist rate to 6.6 dimes per game in the Second Round and now tops the overall leaderboard with an average of 5.8 assists per game.
Another amazing win for @bakkenbears and JAYE CROCKETT @jcrockett30. In today's win against Mornar Bar, Jaye had 16 points, 6 steals, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. With current 4:1 group record, Bakken Bears qualified to play quarter-finals of @FIBAEuropeCup. Congrats!!! pic.twitter.com/yvAA7Ioc7c— Almir Smajic-Rising Stars Sports Agency (@RisingStarsSA) January 31, 2018
The forward became the first player in the competition to register 6 steals in a single game with multiple blocks. Having combined for 9 defensive stats in the two categories, he fell just short of a 9-steal, 1-block display by Kim Adams of Rosa Radom back in the 2015-16 season.
Talking about defense, Mornar Bar big man Uros Lukovic registered an impressive 4 blocks in the same game. It was the third time this season that he's reached the mark, also holding the season-best of 5 blocks.
ESSM Le Portel became just the third team in FIBA Europe Cup history to get their winning streak into double-digit territory, with the 90-68 victory over Kataja Basket, making it 10 wins in a row for coach Eric Girard.
The all-time record belongs to the 2015-16 champions Fraport Skyliners, who managed to win 15 games on the trot before suffering their only loss against Maccabi Rand Media in the first leg of the Quarter-Finals.
The only other team to pull off a 10-game winning streak is Khimik Yuzhne, who also did it in the 2015-16 season. Last season, Nanterre 92 racked up 9 wins in a row in the Regular Season and the Second Round.
There may not be two more evenly-matched teams in the competition than Mornar Bar and Bakken Bears, who went to overtime in both games in the Second Round.
Having won the first game on a buzzer-beating game-winner by DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell in extra time, the Danish took care of business in much more convincing fashion this time around, outscoring the Montenegrin hosts 13-2 in Bar to score an 87-76 win.
HISTORIC night for danish basketball and @bakkenbears - The danish team is in the playoffs for the first time, and as the first danish team ever, after tonights OT-win against @MornarBar in @FIBAEuropeCup ! #CONGRATULATIONS— Boba Keseric (@BobaKeseric) January 31, 2018
The victory guaranteed the Danish champions and recent Danish Cup winners top spot in Group K and a ticket to the next round of the competition.
Stellar work on the glass by Gabrielius Maldunas couldn't help BC Nevezis stay in the hunt for one of the top two spots in Group J, as the Lithuanian side suffered their fourth defeat in a row, losing 86-81 to Egis Kormend.
Maldunas registered the third-most rebounds and fourth-most offensive rebounds with 15 and 8 in these categories, respectively. With 19 rebounds and 11 offensive boards, Krisztofer Durazi of Falco Vulcano holds the record for both.
ESSM Le Portel found themselves trailing 60-59 against Kataja Basket before the final quarter of play, but went on to outscore the visitors from Finland by 23 points in the fourth period (31-8) and inscribed a 90-68 victory for an easy win at the end.
The trio of Ivan Strebkov, Stevan Jelovac and Petr Guvanoc combined for 71 points, Strebkov leading the way with 27 points and the other two collecting 23 and 21, respectively.
The only other team to score as many points in a game this season was fellow Russian side Avtodor Saratov, who celebrated an even more emphatic, 110-71, victory against SL Benfica in the Regular Season.