After reaching the EuroCup Top 16 last season, Limoges CSP will be looking to progress further in the competition this time around. During the opening weeks of the 2016-17 campaign, it appeared that the team would fail to escape the regular season after losing four of its first six games. But a home victory over RETAbet Bilbao Basket was followed by consecutive road wins, the second of which delivered one of the best games of the season in a 98-101 thriller at Partizan NIS Belgrade settled by a two-pointer from Axel Bouteille with just 3 seconds remaining. That was enough to take Limoges to the next stage with a 5-5 record, but there was sadness off the court with the passing of legendary former player and president Frederic Forte in late December. The club's chances of advancing any further were soon scuppered by a horrible start to the Top 16, losing by 33 points at Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. That was the first of four consecutive losses to kill Limoges's chances of securing a quarterfinals berth. Its only Top 16 victory came at home against Reggio Emilia in Round 5, restoring some pride after the drubbing in Italy a few weeks earlier. And now this proud club – which won the EuroLeague in 1993 – is looking forward to another chance to reward its famously loyal fans on the European stage.
Founded in 1929, Limoges Cercle Saint-Pierre spent half a century competing at the regional and local levels until it reached the French elite in 1978. By 1982, led by Richard Dacoury, Apollo Faye and Ed Murphy, the club conquered the French Cup and had a smashing debut in European competitions; Limoges won the 1982 Korac Cup by beating Drazen Petrovic and his Sibenka. The next year, Limoges prevailed against the same opponent in the Korac Cup final. Limoges won its first French championship in 1983 and successfully defended it in both 1984 and 1985. Its EuroLeague debut came in 1984 and Limoges won the Saporta Cup in 1988 after defeating Joventut Badalona in overtime. Limoges went on to win three consecutive French titles between 1988 and 1990 and made it to the 1990 EuroLeague Final Four, but lost to Jugoplastika Split. Bozidar Maljkovic took over as head coach and with Michael Young, Jure Zdovc and Frederic Forte – who served as the club's president from 2004 until his untimely death in December 2017 – led Limoges to the 1993 Final Four, where it played the underdog role to perfection. Limoges defeated Real Madrid and Benetton Treviso to become the first – and to date only – French team to win the EuroLeague. Limoges won the French League that season and added the French League and Cup double in 1994 before getting back to the EuroLeague Final Four in 1995. Head coach Dusko Ivanovic led Limoges to another outstanding season with three titles – French League and Cup and Korac Cup – in 2000 with Marcus Brown and Yann Bonato as its stars. The dynasty suffered a hit when financial and legal troubles took Limoges to the third division four years later. It climbed back to the second division in 2006 and returned to the elite in 2010 – for one year only. But Limoges came back to the French League for good in 2012 and quickly lived up to its old standards. Coached by Jean-Marc Dupraz, Limoges simply did everything right in 2013-14. It ranked second after the French League regular season and downed ASVEL Basket, JDA Dijon and Strasbourg in the playoffs to conquer the title. That led to Limoges making its first EuroLeague appearance in 16 years, but it did not advance past the regular season and its EuroCup campaign that followed ended in the Last 32. However, Limoges did successfully defend its French League title by sweeping Le Havre and SLUC Nancy on the way to the finals, where it ousted Strasbourg to lift the French crown for the 11th time. Limoges's return to the EuroLeague in 2015-16 season did not last past the regular season once again, but it did get through the EuroCup Last 32 before being ousted in the two-game eighthfinals series by Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas. Limoges has been held trophyless at home in the last three seasons, and this historic club will be looking for an upturn in fortunes in the 2018-19 campaign.