FIBA Basketball Champions League: Qualifiers underway

FIBA Basketball Champions League

We are into the Play-Off Qualifiers of the FIBA Basketball Champions League. This is the first season of the new tournament so consequently these are the first qualifiers in Champions League history. There were two games to open the first round, with a further six to be played tomorrow. All of these ties will have a return leg in a week’s time that will determine which clubs move through to the FIBA Basketball Champions League Play-Offs.

On court tonight was Aris Thessaloniki against Strasbourg at home, with the Greek club claiming an important first leg win. Ventspils also claimed victory in front of its home fans, grabbing an advantage over Umana Reyer Venezia.

Aris Thessaloniki vs. Strasbourg, 71-52

Aris looked dominant as it picked up a near 20-point advantage to take to France next week. The Greek club used home advantage to good effect, and despite being on the road this week the Thessaloniki faithful will be confident of progressing to the Play-Offs. Certainly, the club has one foot through the door.

The win was built on a 19-8 run in the first quarter. Strasbourg actually won the second frame 19-20 but still trailed 38-28 through the long break. Aris reclaimed the momentum in the third act and looked too strong during the second half. Will Cummings led the win with 21 points and 5 assists, while Vladimir Jankovic secured 13 points. Paul Lacombe was the only Strasbourg player in double figures as he helped himself to 13 points.

Ventspils vs. Umana Reyer Venezia, 74-67

Ventspils controlled large portions of this contest over Umana Reyer to send the Italians packing with a seven-point gap to make up next week. That is close enough for the Venezia organization to believe the club will turn it around in Italy. However, Ventspils is undoubtedly in the driving seat after this performance.

The hosts took a while to get going, with Venezia making the early plays and securing a 30-33 lead through the halftime rest. In the third quarter, Ventspils started to work the offensive plays more consistently and troubled the bucket more. The home team drove to a 19-17 third act and built on it with a big 25-17 fourth. Those frames turned the game and secured the win for the team.

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