19 September, 2017
02 May, 2018
5 Derek Needham | Photo: Erwin Otten
to read

Domestic roundup: Mornar a win away from history; all even between Benfica and Porto; Crockett en route to France

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) - After finishing runners-up for two years in a row, Mornar Bar are in a unique position to end the hegemony of Buducnost Podgorica in Montenegro.

We also take a look at the domestic action in the SL Benfica-FC Porto derby in Portugal as well as the first intra-competition transfer news of the summer, with Jeffrey Crockett moving to France.

Can Mornar make history in Montenegro?

Mornar Bar are on the verge of making history in Montenegro, with the Mihailo Pavicevic-coached side up 2-0 against ABA League champions Buducnost Podgorica in the domestic championship Finals.

After stealing the opening game of the series 84-77 in Podgorica, Mornar added a 93-85 win to their tally at home over the weekend to put themselves in a position to close out the series on Monday.

Derek Needham had his fingertips all over the win in Game 2, exploding for a season-high 41 points after going 12-of-20 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free-throw stripe, while chipping in with 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

Having never laid claim to the Montenegrin title in the past, Mornar will have three opportunities in the best-of-five series to dethrone Buducnost who have won all 11 editions of the championship to date.

SL Benfica and FC Porto clash already in Semi-Finals

The derby between SL Benfica and FC Porto has taken center stage in the Portuguese Basketball League earlier than usual with the two domestic powerhouses meeting in the Semi-Finals.

After the teams split the first two games in Lisbon, the series is moving to Porto with the third-seeded Dragons taking control of the home-court advantage thanks to a 90-79 victory in Game 1.

The defending champions of the land, Benfica, managed to steady the ship in Game 2 by squeezing out a 77-75 victory on Sunday behind a 14-point and 7-assist game from Damier Pitts.

The visitors from Porto had taken an early 23-12 lead, but the Eagles managed to cut the deficit to 38-33 by the halftime break and took upper hand after intermission.

Bakken Bears star Crockett heading to France

After narrowly missing out on the Play-Offs in the LNB Pro A, ESSM Le Portel started their summer transfer moves by locking up the services of a former FIBA Europe Cup rival in Jeffrey Crockett, who helped Bakken Bears eliminate the French side in the Quarter-Finals of the competition.

The 26-year-old American forward was second in the FIBA Europe Cup in efficiency, averaging 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He was particularly spectacular in the home-and-away series against Le Portel, combining for 37 points and grabbing 22 rebounds in the two meetings.

"We signed Crockett a year ago and he has perfectly used this season to success – both with the team and individually," said Michael Piloz, the General Manager of the Bakken Bears. "It's only natural for Jaye to take the next step in his career and heading to one of the five best leagues in Europe."

The Crockett-led Bakken Bears finished the season on a high note by defending the Danish championship title, with the high-flying player claiming the MVP of the Finals honors.