The week's big numbers: Historic first for Sidigas Avellino; memories of 1981 for Reyer Venezia
For the Stefano Sacripanti-coached Avellino club, reaching the Final is a historic first, while Reyer Venezia have been this far in a European competition, back in the Korac Cup in the 1980-81 season.
Like every week, we take a deep dive into the most interesting events of the game day, through the lens of numbers and look to get you up to speed with what took place.
Since 1948 when the club was founded, this is only the third international campaign for Sidigas Scandone Avellino and the first time ever they have reached the Final of a European competition. The only top-level honors the club currently holds in its trophy cabinet is one Italian Cup title from 2008.
France was the trend-setter in the FIBA Europe Cup last season, with Nanterre 92 and Elan Chalon teaming up for the all-French title-clash at the end of the season. This year, it's all about the Italians. Reyer Venezia and Sidigas Avellino came into the Play-Offs as the main contenders to go all the way and that's what they did, beating teams from Hungary, Russia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Belarus and Denmark on their way.
Three three-pointers in a row by Brandyn Curry in the fourth quarter had the MartiniPlaza in seventh heaven, giving Donar Groningen the necessary 10-point advantage at 70-60 and later 73-63. However, the Dutch side could not swing the tie in their favor and ran out of steam down the stretch. After an off-game in Venice, Curry finished the second meeting with a team-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a pair of steals.
Although Mornar Bar were eliminated in the Quarter-Finals, no one has managed to catch point guard Derek Needham in the three-pointer leaderboard. The American-Montenegrin player has knocked down 15 triples, with Stevan Jelovac (Nizhny Novgorod), Nemanja Vranjes (Mornar Bar) and Ariel Filloy (Sidigas Avellino) in shared-second with 11 long-range bombs.
Bakken Bears saw their dream run in the FIBA Europe Cup snapped on Wednesday but they did not give up without a fight. A disastrous second-half saw the Danes fall behind 51-33 against Sidigas Avellino but they mounted a 29-9 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to even take the lead at 62-60. Despite giving themselves a chance with the fightback, the Bears ran out of steam and so did their European campaign.
Magnificent @FIBAEuropeCup run by @FlyingWithClair, @jcrockett30, @TONY22BISHOP, @bigmich6, @Dwiggins_3, @D_jukic and the rest of the @bakkenbears.— Simonas Baranauskas (@LithuaniaBasket) April 19, 2018
Great job of changing perceptions about Danish basketball! 🇩🇰👏 pic.twitter.com/3uCZFn29To
Lorenzo D'Ercole continues to be the secret ingredient for Sidigas Avellino coach Stefano Sacripanti's winning formula in the Play-Offs. His on-court production of 5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in 19 minutes was nothing to write home about, but it translated into a team-high +/- rating of 20. Despite being just the tenth player on the team in minutes played at 14.9 minutes per game, he is third in terms of +/- at 5.7. The only players above him on the list are Kyrylo Fesenko (9.8) and Bruno Fitipaldo (6.5).
Sidigas Avellino showed basketball is all about sharing. The Italians are number one in assists among all Play-Offs teams with an average of 21.2 dimes dished per game for a total of 127, understandably also a competition-high.
Eliminated in the Quarter-Finals, ESSM Le Portel are second on the list with 21 assists per game, with Donar Groningen dropping to third with an average of 20.5 assists per game following just an 11-assist game on the second-leg of the Semi-Final against Reyer Venezia.
Three-point shooting was Donar Groningen's main weapon in the post-season, with the Dutch side knocking down a Play-Off-best 69 three-pointers in the six games of the knock-out stages. The other three Semi-Finalists did not even come close: Reyer Venezia had 58, Sidigas Avellino finished with 49 while Bakken Bears had just 38.
Like Sidigas Avellino, Reyer Venezia are yet to win a European competition but unlike their compatriots from down south, they have actually been to an international Final in the past, albeit 37 years ago.
Having reached the Final of the 1980-81 Korac Cup, the Venetians fell short 105-104 against Club Joventut de Badalona in a thrilling overtime game at the Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona.
In that game, Spencer Haywood had a game-high 30 points, Drazen Dalipagic scored 25, while Fabrizio della Fiori chipped in with 20 points for the Italian team.