|Edwin Draughan's Lugano Basket kept the hopes of a Last 16 appearance alive|
Helsinn Lugano Basket breathed life into their EuroChallenge campaign with a 74-52 demolition of Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
With Lukoil Academic (4-1) having beaten Tartu University Rock (1-4) earlier in the evening on Tuesday to seal their spot in the Last 16, Lugano hammered the team from Benfica (3-2) to set up an interesting final week in Group C.
Lugano must win at Lukoil in Sofia, Bulgaria, and hope that Tartu play for pride and beat the Portuguese team in Estonia.
Should that happen, Lugano would win a tie-breaker with Benfica because of a superior goal differential in the two games.
Byron Sanders finished a point and rebound shy of a double-double for Lugano, who got 18 points from Mohamed Abukar and 15 from Dusan Mladjan.
Lugano took control in the second quarter when they stretched a 20-15 advantage to 36-16.
Mladjan hit two three-balls in that spurt and captain Derek Stockalper one.
The hosts took a 41-24 lead to the break and had a 60-37 stranglehold on the contest late in the third quarter.
Lugano out-rebounded the visitors 45-35.
Sergio Ramos (Benfica player):
"Today we had just one team on the floor: Lugano! We played without energy in defense and we did not play togheter in offense."
Dusan Mladjan (Lugano player):
"Very good from first to las minute. We demonstrated that we can play on the European level. Now we play all next week in Sofia, very difficult but possible."
Enrique Vieira (Benfica coach):
"Congratulations to Lugano. No game, we are very dominated. No team work in offense and Lugano very good defense. Now we need to go to Tartu to win the game."
Joe Whelton (Lugano coach):
"Congratulations to my players: very disciplined on offes with team work and patience. Very good defense. I am happy for 3 statistics: 20 assists (team), 14 offensive rebounds (play hard) and just 12 turnovers (concentration for all the game)."