Sopot revel in road triumph, Oradea survive OT classic as seven advance on final day
MUNICH (Germany) - The final day of the Regular Season lived up to expectations as seven teams celebrated continuing their FIBA Europe Cup campaigns on Wednesday.
Bakken Bears, CSM CSU Oradea, HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim, Kyiv-Basket, Parma-Parimatch, Trefl Sopot and ZZ Leiden were the magnificent seven that completed the Second Round lineup, with all 32 Regular Season teams in action on Gameday 6.
There were two dramatic overtime thrillers in Group H to decide the runners-up spot with CSM CSU Oradea advancing at the expense of FC Porto, who suffered heartbreak at the buzzer to see their hopes ended.
Oradea claimed a 78-70 success over Szolnok with a 21-8 final period helping force an extra period having trailed by 13 - a margin that would have seen the visitors advance instead. Kris Richards posted a double-double with five players in double figures in the win.
Porto had rallied from 14 points down in their contest at home and had a chance to snatch the win in the dying seconds of overtime, only to fall to an 82-81 loss as Legia Warszawa completed a perfect Group H campaign.
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Trefl Sopot pulled off an 89-83 triumph over fellow debutants Hapoel Eilat to spark jubilant celebrations at the buzzer. The Polish side, which needed to win by at least 3 points - combined with Kyiv-Basket's win - outscored the hosts by seven in the final quarter with Joshua Sharma produced a couple of key blocks down the stretch.
In Group B's other game, James Thompson poured in 28 points to lead the way as Kyiv-Basket sailed through in top spot with an 84-62 victory against Rilski Sportist. They raced away to establish a 20-point advantage at half-time and the damage was done.
All possibilities were also open in Group G, but HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim and Bakken Bears avoided any drama to finish with 4-2 records. The German side sealed top spot as they brushed aside Peristeri Vitabiotics in a 78-55 win with Bakken enjoying a 93-80 victory away at Tsmoki-Minsk as Ryan Evans put up 24 points and 9 rebounds to help secure qualification.
"For me, I came out ready to play and ready to advance. I think we all did. We are 4-0 in the last four games after losing the first two. It was a nice collective effort. It's a really good feeling when all guys get on the board. Different guys stepping up every night is important for any team. We have a lot of potential moving forward so I feel good about it," said Evans.
Meanwhile, there was also late pain for Mornar Bar as they crashed out of the competition with an 83-82 loss to Iraklis BC with the Greek side claiming their first win of the season. ZZ Leiden benefited most from the result as they go through after being made to wait, following an 84-61 defeat of their own against Bahcesehir College, who finished Group E with a perfect 6-0 record.
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Parma-Parimatch made sure of their place in the next round as they enjoyed a 92-75 win on the road at Heroes Den Bosch to finish in second place in Group C. The visitors drew inspiration from Artem Zabelin and Artsiom Parakhouski as the duo shared 44 points between them in the win.
Elsewhere, medi Bayreuth locked up top spot in Group A with a dominant 97-78 victory over London Lions, despite a 30-point haul for the visiting debutants who had previously been unbeaten. Donar Groningen bowed out on a high by beating Kapfenberg Bulls, 85-59.
Avotdor Saratov ensured they finished in pole position in Group D with a comprehensive 100-71 win away at Hapoel Gilboa Galil in an all-round attack, while Unahotels Reggio Emilia fell to an 82-77 defeat on the road against Casademont Zaragoza.
Nikos Chougkaz fired in six triples in a 28-point haul along with 11 rebounds to lead Ionikos BC past Sporting CP in a 93-79 victory, while Belfius Mons-Hainaut overcame Telenet Giants Antwerp 86-82 with both victors already eliminated.
Benfica rounded out the Regular Season action with a hard-fought 86-84 victory over Opava to finish Group C with a 5-1 record in first place as Betinho Gomes and Aaron Broussard combined for 33 points.