| ||To say Yarone Arbel likes basketball would be an understatement of epic proportions. He eats, sleeps and breathes it and gives his EuroChallenge impressions every week in By The Numbers. |
The third week of the Last 16 phase in the EuroChallenge saw only two teams remaining unbeaten. BC FMP and Scavolini Pesaro wrote close but crucial wins to stay perfect, while Belgacom Liege remained the only team without a miss so far.
Outrageous shooting percentages inside the arc, some great timing, a single steal and a single collapse were part of this week's leading figures as well as the debut performance of the player with the longest name in the competition.
1 in 7: The final result doesn't always tell the whole story of a game, and so was the case when Antwerp Giants hosted Roanne Basket and lost 89-70. With seven minutes on the game clock the visitors held just a 69-66 lead, but until the last seconds scored 20 points against just a single one by the locals. The locals scored a three-pointer at the buzzer, but it wasn't enough to hide the poor performance of one point in the last track of the game.
1/3: KK Zagreb is now playing without Tomic and Mulamerovic but they certainly have Krunoslav Simon. The 197 cm forward is one of the best rebounders in the competition for his position and ranked 6th in defensive rebounds among all players, but on the last game he stepped up. Simon wrote a double-double of 16 points and no less than 13 rebounds, all of them on the defensive glass, in addition to five assists. The entire team from Zagreb pulled only 35 rebounds, which means Simon grabbed more than one-third of his team's rebounds. Not a common sight on basketball courts.
1: FMP's road win over Belgacom Liege gave them a big advantage as the only team in Group J without a loss, but to earn the 77-72 win they went through a unique occurrence. In the entire game the Serbs made just a single steal, by Nemanja Protic. Such a low figure didn't allow FMP fast break points and forced them to play more defense, but keeping the home side on only 38.2% inside the arc was enough to get the big win.
2: Two teams had an easy time, to say the least, scoring this week. KK Buducnost beat Apoel 89-76 while making 82.1% of their shots from two-point range, an outrageous figure, and not surprisingly even better than their accuracy from the charity stripe. Roanne Basket reached 89 points as well in their 19 point win in Antwerp, where they connected on 74.2% of their shots inside the arc. Here as well even the percentages from the line were lower. Not an everyday sight, and this week it took place twice.
3: Ok, so there was at least one more reason why FMP won in Belgium. Mladen Jeremic felt more than comfortable on the perimeter and took all of his nine shots from the field from three-point range. The 195 cm shooter who turned 22 years old exactly a month before Tuesday's game, connected on five of them, and remained with a round zero inside the arc. Both were season highs, including his 17 points.
3 and 3: KK Zagreb registered a great road win over Artland Dragons following overtime. Both teams combined just 10 points in the extra period, that delivered more intensity than great basketball. The final basket of the game was scored with almost 100 seconds to play. With the visitors up by two both teams managed to follow a mistake with another one. Artland made a turnover and missed two shots, while the eventual winners missed a chance to extend the gap behind two turnovers and a single miss.
4: Elan Chalon entered the last quarter in Pesaro tied with the local Scavolini and even took a 68-65 lead with 6:26 to play in the game, until everything stopped. For almost four minutes going from there, the French side scored just a pair of shots from the foul line, but no field goals were made. During the drought Chalon turned the ball over three times, missed two shots and committed an unsportsmanlike foul, which allowed Scavolini to write a 13-2 run and hold on to that lead till the final buzzer, enough for a 3-0 record at top of Group K.
3+: Denis Khloponin showed how timing is everything when Krasnye Krylia wrote a very important 70-67 home win over Proteas EKA AEL. He played only 11 minutes and until the last seconds missed all of his three attempts from the field to hold a round zero in his point column. With 89 seconds on the game clock Ernest Bremer found him open on the arc, and Khloponin broke a 67-67 tie with what would turn out to be the game winning basket.
3 in time: The Russian forward wasn't the only player to step up just in time. Banvit's guard Baris Ozcan is one of the best shooters in the competition, but in the road game against Enisey Krasnoyarsk things didn't connect well from the perimeter. Entering the last 70 seconds of the game the sides were tied at 73-73 and Ozcan, despite making all his five attempts inside the arc, didn't connect a shot beyond it in seven attempts, as his team's total was three of 16. Out of nowhere, at the perfect time, came back-to-back three balls to build a six point gap, and Banvit hung on to win the game. Ozcan also added a couple from the foul line to secure the win in the closing seconds and capped an eight point without a miss performance in the closing seconds of the game.
28: Geoffrey Hockins is one of the best prospects coming out of Belgium in the last years. Two years ago he shinned among the top players in the U20 European Championship Division B games, and started to make his way up in the domestic league as well. In mid-season he moved to Liege and last week wrote his debut in the EuroChallenge. Liege already host a couple of players with intriguing names to type as Olivier Troisfontaines and Pierre-Antoine Gillet, but when it comes to Hockins his original name is a task by itself. The 1.88m guard is still not making an impact on court, but he's likely to be the player with the longest name ever in the competition - B. Hockins Munda Mawenjanangila. As far as we know the B stands for, well B, nevertheless even without it his name takes no less than 28 characters on the board.