By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Dinamo Sassari was on an eight-game winning streak in all competitions before the Gameday 10 of Basketball Champions League, and Filou Oostende was the squad to put a stop to their impressive run.
MiKyle McIntosh was the one leading the charge with 27 points on 9-15 shooting including 4-6 from deep while also adding four rebounds, four assists, and a steal.
— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) January 9, 2020
“I was making my shots, my teammates were feeding me, gave me confidence. It was just one of those days when my teammates believed in me and gave me the ball. Nothing special really,” McIntosh said after the game.
Nothing special, he said, but his 27 points are the joint-second best this season for a player coming from the bench plus he earned the Team of the Week honors along the way. That’s only the third time an Oostende player managed to do so.
An impressive feat indeed and it came at a perfect time as the Belgian champions will need McIntosh at his best if they want to secure a playoff ticket.
So close, yet so far away
They are on the right path holding the fourth place in Group A with 5-5 behind Sassari, Turk Telekom, and BAXI Manresa – each with a 7-3 record. And they will have to face the latter two in the remaining four Gamedays of the regular season.
Not such an easy schedule, although, both of those games will be played in Belgium. Lietkabelis, UNET Holon and SIG Strasbourg are chasing from behind with 4-6 records and it’s not out of the question that a tiebreaker will decide who advances.
However, Oostende is in a solid position if that happens and next week’s game against Lietkabelis could improve it further as they won the first one this season. They are also 2-0 against Holon while they lost both games to Strasbourg. That might end up being a problem but the French side would first have to get out of their five-game losing slump.
McIntosh also recognizes the importance of each game and noted that they just have to play their hardest game by game: “It’s a pretty big win for us. We just take it one game at a time. When we play a team, we obviously look at what players they have and everything like that but at the same time it’s another basketball team so whoever comes in and plays the hardest, gets the ‘W’. Today, we played the hardest, made smart decisions, made some shots and stuff like that, so, we ended up getting the win.”
This has been the 25-year-old Canadian’s first season in Europe and he’s been averaging 13.9 points, 3.7 boards, and 1.1 assists while shooting 42% for three over 15 games so far split between the Belgian League and BCL.
Two seasons, three continents, four teams
The young forward started off his college career with Illinois State. After being ruled a non-qualifier by the NCAA, he had to redshirt his freshman year but came back strong as a sophomore to grab the Missouri Valley Conference Most Improved Player award.
He kept going the following year and helped the team reach school-record 28 games and the MVC regular season title, being named to the Second Team All-Missouri Valley Conference along the way. For his senior year, McIntosh transferred to Oregon.
McIntosh went undrafted at the 2018 NBA Draft and had a bit of playtime in the Summer League with the Portland Trail Blazers before moving on. His first destination was South Korea where he joined Anyang KGC for which he averaged 17.4 points and 7.6 boards over 18 games.
A couple of months later, he joined the Raptors 905 in the G-League posting 10.8 points on around 23 minutes of playtime over 25 games.
He played in the Summer League once again, this time for the Indiana Pacers and started this season with a short stint for the Hamilton Honey Badgers in Canada. However, he quickly moved to Europe for the first time and joined his current team Oostende.
Oostende came close to the BCL playoffs last season falling just a bit short in the end but this year they seem ready to take that extra step. McIntosh has certainly been a part of the formula but far from it that he’s alone.
The roster is well balanced with experience, fresh energy and talent, and they seem to be led by the big trio – McIntosh, Braian Angola, and Shevon Thompson who, by the way, is the only player averaging a double-double this season in BCL.
Oostende’s got what it takes to beat any team in BCL and if they manage to get past the group, anything is possible in the knockout phase.
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League