Three teams from groups E-through-H secured a spot in the Last 16 on Game Day 5 of the Regular Season and left seven sides having to battle it out next week for the remaining four tickets.
|Sean May's 33 points and 11 boards earned him Week 5 MVP honours|
It's difficult to ask more from a basketball game than what the Tuesday night clash between Belfius Mons-Hainaut and Paris Levallois had to offer.
Propelled by over 2,200 home fans, the hosts came out guns blazing and took a 30-19 lead at the first buzzer, further increasing the gap to 14 points midway through the second quarter.
While the initial enthusiasm gradually subsided though, Sean May kept pushing the Parisians with his inspired performance at both ends of the floor.
The guests took the lead for the first time, 74-73, with 4:06 left on the clock and the end of regulation found the two sides tied at 82 after Andrew Albicy missed a shot that could have sealed it for Paris and Mons failed to score on their last possession.
Paris edged out their hosts 90-89 after a dramatic finale in overtime that left the heart-broken Belgians staring at the scoreboard in disbelief.
May finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks in a game that had a triple effect: It earned the 28-year-old center Week 5 MVP honours, it earned his team a spot in the Last 16 and it eliminated Mons from contention in the process.
The beneficiaries were the other Belgian side in the group, Okapi Aalstar.
They advanced to the next phase courtesy of the French victory and their head-to-head advantage over Mons, despite falling 89-77 at BCMU Pitesti on Tuesday.
Andonte Gennie and Marcel Jones scored 19 points apiece to lead the Romanian side to their first victory in the Regular Season.
STANDINGS: Paris Levallois 4-1; Okapi Aalstar 3-2; Belfius Mons-Hainaut 2-3; BCMU Pitesti 1-4.
Szolnoki Olaj parted ways unexpectedly with their long-time coach Peter Por shortly before the Tuesday game
|Zvonko Buljan and Körmend can clinch a Last 16 spot with a win next week|
against fellow Hungarian side Lami-Véd Körmend and handed the reins of the team to his former assistant Dragan Aleksic.
The shock treatment appeared to have a beneficial effect on the 2012 EuroChallenge Final Four hosts for the biggest part of the encounter, as Szolnoki lead from the start and entered the final frame with a 6-point advantage.
But Körmend used an 11-2 run to take the lead, 81-77, and despite the hosts' resistance clinched a vital 94-83 over their domestic rivals.
Zvonko Buljan and Vincent Simpson were inspirational for the guests, with 20 points each, while Buljan added seven rebounds and five assists in an all-round display.
Körmend now simply need to match their fellow Hungarians' result on the final day to advance, unless they lose and at the same time BC Timisoara beat Szolnoki by 23 points or more on the road.
The Romanian side find themselves needing to accomplish this difficult feat next week after they failed in a demanding task on Tuesday, namely snapping the undefeated streak of EWE Baskets Oldenburg.
The German outfit recovered quickly from a lukewarm start to the game and simply imposed their will the rest of the way to register a 76-66 win on the road, their fifth consecutive success in the Regular Season.
Coach Sebastian Machowski gave plenty of playing time to all 10 of the players on the Oldenburg squad, who have secured top spot in the group regardless of what happens on the final day.
Rickey Paulding led the balanced German offence with 15 points and Julius Jenkins added 14.
STANDINGS: EWE Baskets Oldenburg 5-0; Lami-Véd Körmend 2-3; Szolnoki Olaj 2-3; BC Timisoara 1-4.
|David Noel and BCM Gravelines are through to the Last 16 thanks to their won tie-breaker over Nancy|
In a quite unusual turn of events in France on Tuesday, the losing side got more out of a basketball game than the winners.
New signing Claude Marquis had 16 points, Souleyman Diabate added 15 and six assists and SLUC Nancy came up with a big third quarter to clinch a vital 71-69 success at the home of their domestic rivals BCM Gravelines Dunkerque.
The two-point margin of Nancy's victory could however not match the 12-point loss to BCM in the first game.
The two French sides now have the same record but with the won tie-breaker, Gravelines will advance in case both teams are defeated on the final day of action in the group.
BCM also hold the head-to-head advantage over Tsmoki Minsk and thus have secured qualification despite their loss.
Minsk are also at 3-2 after holding out against Pizza Express Apollon to claim an 81-72 win in Cyprus.
Dzianis Korshuk was immense for the guests collecting a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds to go with with his three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Minsk's Aliaksandr Kudrautsau led all scorers with 19 points.
Nancy now host the Belarusians in a straight-forward winner-takes-all clash next week.
STANDINGS: BCM Gravelines Dunkerque 3-2; SLUC Nancy Basket 3-2; Tsmoki-Minsk 3-2; Pizza Express Apollon 1-4.
|Yannick Driesen and Antwerp Giants still have a shot t qualifying after routing Armia |
Hapoel Unet Holon took a huge step towards the Last 16 and breathed new interest into the group on Wednesday, by inflicting a second loss of the season to Telekom Baskets Bonn.
It took double-double displays by the hosts' frontcourt duo Franklin Hassell and Lawrence Hill to bend the German resistance, but the Israeli side managed to hold on for a 75-70 victory that puts them in a comfortable position ahead of the final day of action.
Holon now simply need to avoid a defeat by more than 23 points next week, when they visit Port of Antwerp Giants.
Bonn meanwhile depend on themselves and will advance to the next phase if they clinch a road win -by any margin- at Armia and could still qualify with a loss if Hapoel emerge victorious from Belgium.
The Giants are facing this hard task on the final day but they had to work to stay alive, and they did so with considerable style.
The Belgians were simply impressive in the first half against Armia and took a 47-21 lead at the interval.
Playing in front of 3,000 home fans in the Antwerp arena the Giants kept on the effort and further increased the gap in the second half to register an 87-54 victory.
Five players scored in double digits for the hosts, who saw Bryan Hopkins finishing with 16 points, six rebounds and three steals.
STANDINGS: Hapoel Unet Holon 4-1; Telekom Baskets Bonn 3-2; Port of Antwerp Giants 3-2; Armia 0-5.