By Stefan Djordjevic/ [email protected]
The Basketball Champions League Play-In series have started with five games and while there were some close calls, there were also some convincing affairs. One, in particular, stood out – SIG Strasbourg’s 105-78 home win against PAOK mateco.
For Strasbourg, it went perfectly, despite missing head coach Lassi Tuovi and two players in John Roberson and Yannis Morin. For PAOK, definitely not and the duel featured a number of records, some positive, some negative.
For starters, the French team banked in 105 points, setting a higher tally than U-BT Cluj Napoca’s recent 103, and marking the highest-scoring game by a team this season without overtime. It’s also their best tally in BCL ever while they’ve won one game with a higher margin, back in 2016 over Mornar Bar (93-62).
What made the win even more impressive was the fact that Strasbourg turned over the ball just five times and Jarell Eddie was leading the effort in that front as well.
Eddie had zero turnovers and didn’t log a single foul either. What he did do, however, was score 26 points and those three stats combined are quite rare in BCL’s history. Only two more players – Bryon Allen (2017) and Trevis Simpson (2019) – managed to accomplish it.
Ike Udanoh was impressed not only with Eddie but with the whole team, and especially the assists/turnover ratio.
“Honestly, it what we always preach, we play as a team. Today, we were more than a team. Everybody picked up a little bit for the guys that were missing, and the communication was crazy today. Twenty-five assists to five turnovers is crazy. It’s a crazy statistic to have. But it’s a testament to all the guys we got, everybody bought in and everybody cares for one another, everybody cares about winning. Whatever you have to do to win, that’s what you’re gonna do. That’s what we did today,” Udanoh said.
For all the good this win did to Strasbourg in the history books, as much it went wrongly for PAOK’s side. The Greek team conceded most points in their BCL history while the 27-point margin is their second-worst. MHP Riesen Ludwigbsurg handed them a 103-70 loss in 2017.
Another stat that showed how powerless PAOK was in the loss came in form of rebounds. They grabbed 22 boards total and it’s their lowest number ever in the competition, as well as a join-low for any team this season.
If there was a silver lining for PAOK in the devastating loss, it’s that things can hardly go worse going into the next game. Also, Marvin Jones and Vasileios Toliopoulos.
Jones logged 18 points and 13 rebounds. That was his third double-double of the season, joining Gytis Radzevicius as the only players to do so. Meanwhile, Toliopoulos shot 6-9 from deep for his 18 points and those threes almost sparked a comeback for PAOK in the third quarter. Almost being the keyword.
“We didn’t do anything right. We need to improve, for sure, and we need to do it fast if we want to have chances to qualify,” Toliopoulos said and coach Aris Lykogiannis echoed.
“I don’t have to say a lot, the score speaks. We didn’t play well at all, our performance was below average, and Strasbourg won fairly in the game.”
The next duel of the two teams in their best-of-three Play-In series is set for January 12th at PAOK’s Sports Arena in Thessaloniki. PAOK will try to recover with the home-court advantage but regardless of the final outcome, expect a very different display on the court from both sides.
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