There was last-second drama in FIBA Europe Cup action on Wednesday as four more places in the Second Round were confirmed – with Unahotels Reggio Emilia, medi Bayreuth, Sporting CP, and Telenet Giants Antwerp as their rightful owners – amongst the 13 games taking place.
Justin Johnson drew contact on a game-winning three to lift Unahotels Reggio Emilia to a thrilling 80-77 triumph over previously unbeaten Avtodor Saratov. The American forward was 0-of-6 from inside the arc but finished 5-of-5 from outside – continuing the hot streak from beyond the arc at a critical moment.
The Italian side also had 22 points from Leonardo Candi and a 16-point, 14-assist double-double from Andrea Cinciarini, with their place having been confirmed before their frantic finale.
Casademont Zaragoza saw their late comeback fall short in an agonizing 80-78 defeat at home to Hapoel Gilboa Galil to end their chances of making it beyond the Regular Season in their first season in the competition.
Sporting CP not only locked up their own ticket to the next phase but also confirmed a spot for Telenet Giants Antwerp after they defeated Belfius Mons-Hainaut 75-68 on the road. Joshua Patton top scored with 24 points in the win, with Sporting also confirmed as Group F winners with their 4-1 record.
Also advancing were medi Bayreuth as they sailed through to the Second Round with another home win, with Cameron Wells contributing 18 points, seven assists, and four steals in their 84-61 victory over Kapfenberg Bulls to move to 4-1.
Group B remains wide open after Kyiv-Basket missed out on the chance to seal their place in the next round after suffering a 71-62 defeat at the hands of Hapoel Eilat, with Bryon Allen posting 19 points and 13 assists. Meanwhile, Trefl Sopot stayed alive with a convincing 84-64 victory away at Rilski Sportist, with all four teams in contention to advance next week.
The same goes for a tightly-contested Group G. HAKRO Merlins Crailsheim certainly did their job with a dominant 95-72 victory on the road at Tsmoki-Minsk, but needed a win for Peristeri Vitabiotics to see both teams advance. Bakken Bears had other ideas and moved into pole position with a dramatic 83-75 triumph against the Greek side.
The home side had been set for a convincing victory, but Peristeri battled back from 19 down to take the lead in the fourth, only for Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson to score five quickfire points in a pivotal spell to finish with 26 points in the win.
ZZ Leiden defeated Mornar Bar 78-73 behind Jhonathan Dunn’s 22 points, with both sides having had an opportunity to advance as their hopes now go into the final round next week.
Earlier, Bahcesehir College kept their perfect record intact with a comfortable 86-66 victory at home to winless Iraklis BC to be confirmed in top spot in Group E, while Legia Warszawa also moved to 5-0 with a 75-68 success at Szolnok with six players in double figures.
London Lions maintained their unbeaten start to the Regular Season as they pulled away from Kapfenberg Bulls for a 100-81 win, with the top spot in Group A to be decided next week in Bayreuth. Marquis Teague top scored with 21 points, with Isaiah Reese adding 18 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds for the Lions.
Opava dented the hopes of Heroes Den Bosch as they claimed their first win with an impressive 88-72 success. Jan Svandrlik netted a season-high with 22 points along with four steals, with Mike Carlson scoring 26 in defeat, with the Dutch side now relying on results elsewhere.
Thursday’s meeting between Parma-Parimatch and Benfica will guarantee a top-two finish in Group C for the victor to round out the Gameday 5 action.