Burgos, Brindisi bolster FIBA Championsleague Final 8 bid with road wins

Hereda San Pablo Burgos and Happy Casa Brindisi have advanced significantly in the race to reach the FIBA Championsleague Final 8 after picking up comfy wins on the road over VEF Riga and Tofas Bursa, respectively, on Wednesday night.

By contrast, the Latvian and the Turkish team are now both knocked out of contention for a spot in the May showcase tournament that will crown the 2020-21 BCL champion.

VEF Riga 45-67 Hereda San Pablo Burgos — Group J

A shorthanded Hereda San Pablo Burgos managed to hold VEF Riga to 19 percent shooting from the floor, the lowest field goal percentage in a BCL game this season, cruising to a 67-45 road win that brings them one step from the Final 8.

The reigning BCL champions, who traveled to Riga without five key players, have now extended their win streak to eight games and will advance to the season-ending tournament if they win at least one of their two games against Igokea next week.

VEF, by contrast, slide to 0-4 in the Group J standings and are eliminated from contention for a spot in the Final 8.

Burgos grabbed the upper hand for good late in the second frame, and an Alex Barrera triple right as the halftime buzzer was sounding gave the Spanish team their biggest lead of the first half, 35-26.

The visitors held on to their cushion throughout the third frame and put the game beyond the hosts’ reach with an 11-1 run in the first five minutes of the final stanza.

Maksim Salash scored from the low post 4:57 from the final buzzer to stretch the Burgos lead to 17 points, 59-42.

VEF, who could not buy a basket from the floor or even score from the free-throw line, only scored four points in the entire period.

Thad McFadden paced Burgos with his 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Jasiel Rivero posted yet another double-double against the Latvian side, this time of 11 points and 11 rebounds.

FIBA Championsleague Burgos

Tofas Bursa 72-91 Happy Casa Brindisi — Group I

Happy Casa Brindisi dished out 30 assists and showcased the depth of their bench to pull away from Tofas Bursa and reach a convincing 91-72 win in Turkey.

The Italian team is now joint leader of Group I, tied with Hapoel Unet-Credit Holon at 3-1, while Tofas has dropped to 0-4 on the table and has abolished their last chance to fight for a Final 8 berth.

Brindisi held a slim 38-31 lead 3:58 from the halftime buzzer when Mattia Udom scored with a put-back to spark a 13-5 burst by the visitors.

The Italian team led by 15 points at halftime, but Tofas attempted to mount a comeback midway through the third quarter, and Semaj Christon reduced the gap to nine points, 56-47, with 5:44 remaining to the end of the period.

Nick Perkins, though replied with a jumper to ensure momentum would not swing to the hosts’ side, and Brindisi stretched the lead to 19 points before the third buzzer and held Tofas at arm’s length with ease in the fourth frame.

James Bell led five Brindisi players in double digits with his 16 points, and Derek Willis had a near double-double of 12 points and 9 rebounds, adding 4 assists.

Tarik Phillip finished with a game-high 22 points and added 4 assists for Tofas in a losing effort.

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