|Juan Edwards and Gravelines Dunkerque went down to Nanterre to bring to an abrupt end what has been a good season so far|
The semi-final pairings of the French Pro A play-offs will be set on Thursday, but BCM Gravelines Dunkerque have already claimed the undesired distinction of being involved in the biggest surprise of the post-season.
For the second season in a row, BCM finished top of the Pro A standings in the Regular Season only to fall to the eighth-placed team in the first round of the play-offs.
On Wednesday night, the EuroChallenge semi-finalists succumbed to a second defeat to Nanterre in the space of 48 hours, 88-68 on the road, and were eliminated from the title race in the French league.
Yannick Bokolo scored to level the scores, 19-19, at the end of the first quarter, but Nanterre started pulling away already in the second frame and never looked back.
They played fantastic defence for the following 20 minutes and gave up a total of only 27 points in the two middle quarters to their guests.
The hosts led 41-33 at half-time and then 64-46 at the end of the third frame, effectively sealing the big triumph with an entire quarter to spare.
Trenton Meacham and Stephen Brun paved the way for Nanterre with 19 and 18 points, respectively, while Bokolo had 19 points and four assists for BCM in a losing effort.
BCM's woes are largely attributed to that fact that their main weapon, point guard Dwight Buycks, who was voted MVP of the Pro A after the end of of the Regular Season, was smothered by Nanterre's stifling defence in this series, contributing only two points on 0-for-7 shooting from the floor on Wednesday.
Strasbourg, who had finished in second place in the Regular Season, defeated Dijon 75-66 on Wednesday to sweep their series and will face the winner of the series between Le Mans and Lyon-Villeurbanne, which could be decided on Thursday if Le Mans do not force a third game.
BONN FORCE GAME 5 WITH OLDENBURG
|Kyle Weems recorded one of the better games this season, tearing apart Oldenburg's defence in the first half|
The series decider will be played on Saturday in Oldenburg, since Sebastian Machowski's team had finished the Regular Season in second place and have the home-court advantage.
In Wednesday's thrilling encounter, hosts Bonn started in impressive fashion to establish a 51-35 lead at half-time and increase the gap to 17 points at the end of the third quarter, only for their guests to stage a huge comeback in the fourth frame.
Oldenburg outscored Bonn 28-11 in the final quarter of regulation to tie the scores at 73 and force overtime.
Bonn however shot the ball better in the additional period and clinched the vital win behind a monster 34-point, 10-rebound double-double performance by Kyle Weems, who made six of his 10 shots from behind the three-point arc.
Jamel McLean also collected a double-double, of 26 points and 12 boards, for Bonn; guard Julius Jenkins meanwhile finished with 26 points and big man Adam Chubb had 19 points and seven rebounds for Oldenburg in losing efforts.
The winner of Game 5 on Saturday will face ratiopharm Ulm, who swept Artland Dragons 3-0, in the semi-finals.
In the other semi-final series, Regular Season winners Brose Baskets Bamberg are pitted against FC Bayern Munich.
Bamberg won their series against Phoenix Hagen 3-1 thanks to a 92-75 victory on the road on Wednesday, while Bayern offered the most powerful display in the first round of the play-offs, sweeping Euroleague side Alba Berlin in three games.