Franca, Libertadores start BCLA campaigns off with statement wins
MIAMI (United States) - Season 4 of Basketball Champions League Americas kicked off with UdeC and Franca facing off in the opening match while the Honey Badgers took on Libertadores.
Here's what happened on the first day of the Group Stage in the most elite men's basketball league on the continent.
Franca avoided a near comeback from UdeC and pulled out a 106-92 win at Gimnasio de la Casa del Deporte in Concepcion, Chile on Day 1 of Basketball Champions League Americas action.
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Coming out hot from the jump Franca scored a whopping 33 points in the first quarter while also playing some impressive defense to keep UdeC to just 15 points.
Lucas Mariano and David Jackson put on a scoring clinic in the paint during the first quarter, and Georginho De Paula had a hot hand from the three point line as well as controlling the rebounds defensively for Franca.
However, UdeC then made it a tight race as they tipped in 31 points of their own to cut what was once an 18 point lead to just eight points going into halftime.
Reyshawn Terry, who played 33 minutes in the battle, was one of UdeC's prime scoring options and was both physical on the ground and lethal in the air which Franca had no answer for.
Eugenio Bocaz and Jerry Evans Jr. were the secondary heroes to help lead the comeback charge, and the third quarter was another back and forth battle with Franca getting the one point edge in scoring, 29-28.
By controlling the offensive boards, UdeC got more opportunity for second chance points to pull them closer to Franca's bold first quarter.
But the fourth quarter is where Franca showed their stamina and continued to capitalize on late turnovers and pulled out a double digit win to start their campaign.
Six Franca players scored 12 or more points in the win with Mariano leading Franca with 21 points while De Paula added a massive 17 point, 15 rebound double-double including 9 points from beyond the arc.
Evans Jr. led UdeC with 22 points and 6 rebounds while Terry added another 21 points, but as just one other player scored in double digits for UdeC they could not keep up with a well-rounded Franca squad.
Libertadores made a statement with their wire to wire win against the Honey Badgers in a 99-83 domination at Auditorio José Maria Arteaga in Queretaro, Mexico on Friday night.
The second game of the first day of BCLA action also started as a lopsided affair as the Honey Badgers were caught flat footed and unable to make shots early while unable to defend Ismael Romero who already netted 11 points by the end of the first quarter.
Branden Frazier also managed to shoot 100 percent from the floor through the first ten minutes and six different Libertadores players got on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, the Honey Badgers made just 6-of-19 baskets with Joshua Ibarra and Jordan Williams combining for eight of their 13 points.
While their three-point shooting was less than ideal through the first half, the Honey Badgers managed to muster up 21 points in the second quarter - though Williams continued to persevere at the rim and scored another 5 points for the Honey Badgers.
The second half saw the Honey Badgers throw everything they could at Libertadores to try and cut the deficit - a stacked bench who could shoot from the floor as well as play physical, battles on the board offensively and stealthy defense that forced some unlikely turnovers.
Five different Honey Badgers scorers were in double digits as Jahvon Henry-Blair, who found his confidence earlier in the fall with Canada at the AmeriCup, added 10 points including 9 points from the three-point line.
Stefan Smith added 11 points and Gelvis Solano added another 10 with a perfect record from the free throw line as the Honey Badgers fought until the final buzzer.
But in the end, Libertadores were more capable of moving the ball to open shooters and effectively finding the rim in transition while the Honey Badgers struggled to do the same against a suffocating defensive presence.
Javier Mojica added his name to the list of Libertadores players who were a threat as he added 12 points in the second half.
With three minutes remaining in the game Libertadores led by as many as 20, with Romero scoring 13 second half points to lead them to their first win in Group A.
Romero led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting while Mojica and Frazier both added 14 points each in the win.
Williams led Honey Badgers with 18 points while Ibarra added a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.