FIBA Europe Cup - Wednesday Focus: Week 4
MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – We are set for another busy Wednesday in the FIBA Europe Cup, with 24 teams from all across the continent taking part in Week 4 action in the competition.
It will be particularly interesting to keep an eye on the rematch between Bnei Herzliya and the still undefeated Lukoil Academic who were involved in the nail-biting FIBA Europe Cup season premiere that went to overtime in Sofia three weeks ago.
BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque have also won all three games on the international stage so far, but will have their record put to the test by Donar Groningen scoring ace Lance Jeter at the Sportica on Wednesday evening.
We would like to remind you that you can watch both of these match-ups, like all other FIBA Europe Cup games as well, LIVE and FREE on YouTube.com/FIBA.
Bnei Herzliya and Lukoil Academic starred in a thrilling FIBA Europe Cup season-opening fixture that required overtime to settle the winner three weeks ago in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
The return leg in Israel between the Group F behemoths promises to be just as spine-tingling, with both sides taking care of business against group opponents CSM Steaua and Prievidza in the remaining games.
Having won the first duel against Bnei Herzliya 78-73, the defending Bulgarian champions are first in the standings with a 3-0 record with the Israeli side one step below at 2-1.
After unsuccessful Basketball Champions League (BCL) qualification, Academic have responded really well both in the FIBA Europe Cup and in the Bulgarian NBL, winning all seven games across all competitions.
American playmaker Danny Gibson is orchestrating things beautifully for the Sofia club, averaging 16.0 points and 4.7 assists per game, with Maksym Korniienko and Stephen Zack serving important roles for coach Toni Dechev.
Showing excellent home form, Bnei Herzliya have managed to put the season-opening loss in Sofia behind them with two wins at home in the Hyuvel Hall which could spell trouble for the visitors from Bulgaria.
Karam Mashour has been the unquestionable leader of the Israeli club, collecting 20.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game in his first three outings in the FIBA Europe Cup.
Lukoil Academic are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the competition and rank second in the league in made long-range shots having gone 35-of-82 from deep for a stellar 42.7% so far.
Stopping the shooters on the Bulgarian side will be the number one priority for coach Mickey Gorka's side after allowing Academic to make 12-of-27 from three-point range in the first meeting between the teams.
No one has been able to stop BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque in the FIBA Europe Cup this season, but a gutsy performance by Limburg United showed that the French side is not invincible after barely escaping an upset in Belgium.
On Wednesday, the still-undefeated Group B leaders from France will host the second-placed Donar Groningen whose only loss came at the hands of the said French club.
The first meeting between the sides in Groningen ended in a 79-70 victory for Gravelines in a well-rounded team effort which saw five players finish with double figures in Christian Monschau's side.
On the other side, it would be unfair to label Groningen a one-man team, but Lance Jeter has been the alpha and omega for the Dutch side in the early season, leading the entire FIBA Europe Cup in scoring with an impressive 25.3 points and 7.0 assists per game.
Jason Dourisseau did not play in the first game against Gravelines and it would be a big boost for the Groningen team if he can come close to replicating the 22-point game against Kormend in the last round.
Despite two victories in a row on the international front, Donar will not come into the game in France flying high with confidence, having suffered its first defeat in the Dutch Basketball League over the weekend, losing 76-74 to Zwolle.