02 October, 2023
24 April, 2024
10 Sebastian Lindberg (KATA), 23 Thomas Tumba (KATA), 12 Amanze Egekeze (KATA), 4 Tuomas Hirvonen (KATA)
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Kataja leave it late to clinch Regular Season spot as nine teams claim last tickets

MUNICH (Germany) - The last night of the FIBA Europe Cup Qualifying Tournaments had a down-to-the-wire finish in Joensuu, Finland, with Group D hosts Kataja clinching first place by the skin of their teeth as one of nine to advance.

Needing to win by 11 or more points to punch their ticket to the Regular Season, Kataja's Nike Sibande made two free-throws with a second remaining for a 96-85 triumph over Bulgarians Chernomorets Burgas to top the three-way tie with Boras Basket missing out.

Kataja, who opened up a 20-point advantage in the third quarter, did just enough to accomplish their mission. Amanze Egekeze had a game-high 26 points while Nike Sibande poured in 23 including a pair of clutch free throws to seal the deal.

Azerbaijan has a team in the FIBA Europe Cup Regular Season after Sabah BC romped to a 90-71 victory over CS Rapid Bucuresti in a do-or-die battle for first place in Group A with a perfect 3-0 record.

Sabah had one hand on first place by half-time after racing into a 49-26 lead and remained firmly in the control the rest of the way. Michael Holton Jr drilled all five of his three-point attempts and had 20 points for the winners, while teammate  Donovan Smith was four of four from deep and finished with 19 points.

Meanwhile, Manisa BBSK made the most of their home-court advantage in Turkiye, by winning a showdown for Group B supremacy with an 80-70 victory over FC Porto.

In a contest of 1-0 teams, Manisa took the lead for good after starting a 17-1 run late in the opening quarter for a 28-14 advantage. Ryan Luther had 15 points and nine rebounds for Manisa, who prevailed despite a poor night at the free-throw line.

Celebrations are underway in Kosovo because their club side, BC Trepca, won for the second consecutive night to clinch top spot in Group C by defeating Parnu Sadam, 77-67.

Parnu Sadam led by seven points as they looked to set up a three-way tie for top spot, but BC Trepca held their nerve as Jordy Tshimanga had 14 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.

Germans Rostock Seawolves were big winners in a battle for first against Cypriots Keravnos, 93-74, in Group E. The contest was tied at 58-58, but Michael Smith's pull-up jump shot put the Seawolves back in front and led the rest of the way.

Shooting guard Eric Lockett had a solid all-round game for the winners with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and a block.

In Kormend, Bnei Ofek Dist Herzliya needed a strong fourth quarter to see off group hosts Egis Kormend, 97-88. The Group F hosts led 69-67 early in the last quarter after a three-pointer from Nicola Djogo, yet the Israeli club answered with a 9-0 run to take the lead for good and Robert Carter finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds.

Casademont Zaragoza were in a real dogfight in Ostersund against Jamtland Basket in a do-or-die fight midway through the third quarter with just two points in it. However, Mark Smith's steal and layup triggered a 12-4 run for Zaragoza that put them on the way to an 81-65 victory in Group G.

Spain international Santi Yusta had 21 points to lead Zaragoza to their second win that clinched top spot in Group G.

The wait for the lucky loser spots went right down to the final game as Donar Groningen defeated Rabotnicki Skopje 65-62 to deny Rapid Bucuresti and send Porto through alongside Keravnos as the two lucky losers.

The ranking for the runners-up was as follows:

1. Keravnos BC [Q] 1-1 +28
2. FC Porto [Q] 1-1 +6
3. Boras Basket 1-1 +3
4. Tindastoll 1-1 -1
5. Egis Kormend 1-1 -5
6. Jamtland Basket 1-1 -15
7. CS Rapid Bucuresti 1-1 -15

The Regular Season is set to commence on Wednesday, October 18 with the 40 confirmed teams split across 10 groups of four.