The FIBA Basketball Champions League qualifying tournament has come to a close and we now know the four clubs that will complete the Regular Season picture. Usak, Ironi Nahariya, Oradea, and Bakken Bears all made it to the season.
It was an evening for the home teams as every club claimed victory on their own hardwood. Three of those clubs retained their leads from the first leg, with Oradea the only team to reverse a deficit.
UBT Cluj Napoca vs. Usak, 66-85
Usak completed the job against Cluj Napoca on the road. The club was protecting a three point cushion after a 93-90 victory in the first leg. However, that lead was never tested as Cluj simply wilted in front of its own fans. Through halftime it was all going so well for the Romanian hosts as they held a six points advantage on the night and a three point aggregate lead. However, Usak were stunning in the second half, draining 53 points through the nets and stopping Cluj at 28 points to sweep into the FIBA Basketball Champions League Regular Season.
Mark Lyons topped the winning effort with 18 points and 5 assists, while Jeremy Hazell scored 17 points and Darryl Monroe added 12 points.
Kyndall Dykes paced Cluj early on and finished with a game high 19 points, followed by a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds from Vlad Moldoveanu. Ousmane Barro also doubled up with 10 points and 12 boards.
Ironi Nahariya vs. Tsmoki-Minsk, 71-67
Ironi Nahariya completed the task it started against Tsmoki-Minsk on Tuesday and moved into the Regular Season. This 141-133 aggregate success was really built on that road encounter two days ago, but Ironi still needed to get the job done at home. The hosts started perfectly with a 24-12 charge in the first quarter. Credit to Minsk for roaring back into contention with a 15-25 winning second frame. However, Ironi Nahariya stayed committed at the defensive post and picked off buckets through the second half and secured the important win.
Gilbert Brown was in strong form in the win, taking 18 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Yancy Gates scored 14 points in success.
Dru Joyce led claimed 17 points and handed 7 assists in the losing effort, while Justin Gray netted 16 points.
Oradea vs. Lukoil Acad., 70-58
Oradea was the only team on the night to reverse a losing deficit. The team headed into this home second leg trailing 75-72, but completed a solid victory and progressed into the FIBA Basketball Champions League proper. The hosts were explosive in the first half and set the tone to claim the win, stunning Lukoil Academic. A 27-12 charge gave Oradea the lead for good and the guests could only chase the game from there. A 16-10 third act killed the contest as Oradea conceded the fourth quarter, but kept the scoring to a minimum.
Sean Barnette was stunning for the winners, claiming 28 points. Martin Zeno took 12 points to back up Barnette’s offensive display.
Sasa Zagorac topped a below par Lukoil Academic with 12 points.
Bakken vs. TU/Rock, 83-70
The Bakken Bears posted easy passage to the Regular Season with a home win over TU/Rock. The Danish club already lead by 8 points after the first leg and used a strong second half here to get the job done. There was just one point between the teams at halftime, as the Bears headed in 37-36 in front. The hosts picked up the scoring in the second half, grabbing 24 points in the third and 22 points in the fourth to put the game out of reach.
Michel Diouf continued his impressive early season for with a 21 points and 10 rebounds double-double. Devaughn Akoon-Purcell took home 20 points for the Bears.