By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
A big run midway through the fourth quarter earned Tofas Bursa the win, 83-78, against Filou Oostende and a spot in the Basketball Champions League Round of 16.
Mexican guard Pako Cruz poured a game-high 24 points powered by 8/15 field goals, including 4/7 three-pointers in the Regular Season Round 5 contest held at Versluys Dome. Tomislav Zubcic chipped in 16 points and Jeremy Simmons posted a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double.
The team coached by Ahmet Caki enjoyed a late 12-1 run seemingly putting a tight game beyond doubt. The last-ditch comeback bid fell narrowly short with the lead cut to one point in the final seconds. Jumping to 4-1 clinched first place in Group F.
The visitors came in leading the BCL with 26.5 first-quarter points per contest but were limited to ten points through the first ten minutes in Oostende, Belgium.
Dario Gjergja’s team was coming off eight wins in a row across all competitions since October 16 but was pushed in a best-of-three Play-In series after dropping to 2-3. Pierre-Antoine Gillet with 19 points behind 5/5 triples and 2/2 two-pointers did not make the cut versus Tofas. Haris Bratanovic and Brandon McCoy were sidelined.
The Belgium champions, current leaders of the betFirst BNXT League at 10-0, will wrap up the Regular Season at SIG Strasbourg on December 21. The second seed can be clinched with a win by a margin of at least six points, otherwise will settle for third place.
Postgame press conference:
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League