Barely a month ago, few thought Buducnost would still be alive in Round 10 with a chance to qualify for the Top 16. Buducnost started the season with a 0-6 record and was arguably the unluckiest team in the competition, losing the last three games of that streak by 1 or 2 points.
Instead of giving up, Buducnost chose to fight.
The Montenegrin power defeated Dolomiti Energia Trento 69-76 in Round 7 and topped Asseco Arka Gdynia 61-78 in Round 8. Then it was time for Buducnost to finally win at home, in what could be its final EuroCup game in front of its fans in the 2019-20 campaign. Everything went well for Buducnost on Wednesday, which showed great focus and played with outstanding intensity.
Buducnost bested Galatasaray 94-78 for its third consecutive win to keep its chances to qualify. Buducnost and Arka Gydnia have 3-6 records with Trento sitting fourth at 4-5. Buducnost has the tie-breaker against Arka (1-1, +15) but not against Trento (1-1, -2). A three-way tie, however, would send Buducnost to the Top 16. Thus, Buducnost's only chance is beating EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Germany and hoping for Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul and Unicaja Malaga to beat Arka and Trento, respectively.
Buducnost showed its many talents in this game, starting with power forward Hassan Martin, who was simply unstoppable in the paint. He finished the game with a career-high 24 points on 11-of-15 two-point shooting plus 2 free throws. He added 10 rebounds and 3 steals for a PIR of 29, matching his career-best. He had 6 offensive rebounds, the most by a Buducnost player in the EuroCup since Jeleel Akindele pulled down that many against PAOK Thessaloniki in October 2013.
"We hadn't had a EuroCup win in front of our fans, at our home court yet, so this is big for us," Martin said after the game. "We just want to keep playing, to try to make it to the next round. We did our job tonight; we came out, fought hard, made shots, played defense... it was fun! So I am proud of my guys."
Not only did Martin dominate in the paint, but by being double-teamed, Buducnost found good shots everywhere. The Montenegrin powerhouse downed 13 of 25 shots from outside the arc, a new season-best.
After the game, Galatasaray head coach Ertugrul Erdogan praised Buducnost for its fighting spirit and recognized that he expected more of them at the beginning of the season. "I said this is a really good team and actually, the result of the group is for me, incredible. If you asked me before the season, I was expecting them to do much better, but this is life, this is basketball, and sometimes it happens," Erdogan said. "We won the game in Istanbul in overtime with the last shot and I think they played much better than us."
It is not an ideal situation for Buducnost because its destiny is not entirely in its hands, but Buducnost will keep trying to succeed at the things it can control right now and that is trying to get another win in Oldenburg in the final game of the entire 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season - Wednesday at 20:45 CET. If Buducnost still has chances by then, expect it to leave everything on the floor.