Heading into its final road game of the Top 16, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica faced a very simple equation: win or suffer elimination.
On paper, it might have appeared that the Montenegrin team would have few problems doing just that: after all, it was going up against a JL Bourg en Bresse team which had lost all four games in this phase of the competition and was heading into the contest with little more than half a roster due to several injuries.
However, Bourg was desperate to claim a victory in its first-ever season in the 7DAYS EuroCup and played with incredible spirit throughout the game – especially an inspired Zachery Peacock, who set club records for both scoring and three-pointers by knocking down 29 points on 6 of 11 attempts from beyond the arc. Hugo Benitez also set a couple of competition records for Bourg, dishing 7 assists and claiming 3 steals.
Against such inspired opposition, it was never going to be easy for Buducnost to get the win it needed. But instead of panicking or trying to force the game, Coach Dejan Milojevic’s men kept their composure and proceeded to deliver a perfectly balanced offensive performance which yielded a steady flow of points at all times of the contest.
Buducnost’s first shots of the game were all from beyond the arc, suggesting a long-range bombardment lay in store. But having established its deep game, the Montenegrin team then focussed its attention inside, netting six consecutive two-point attempts to finish the first quarter with 24 points.
A similar approach continued throughout and a consistent ability to score at all times saw Buducnost’s points-per-quarter tally read 24, 23, 20 and 25. This ensured that Bourg was never allowed to feel comfortable or put together a run that could have changed the game, with Buducnost repeatedly shrugging off its defensive issues to keep on scoring at the other end.
At the conclusion of a thrilling finale, Buducnost had made 22 of 34 two-point attempts (64.7%) and 12 of 30 (40%) from long range, displaying accurate shooting and almost perfect balance which was further complemented by 19 assists with just 9 turnovers. The offensive efficiency was slightly spoiled by a disappointing record of 12 of 20 from the foul line (60%), which could have made the victory come more easily.
But at least that leaves room for improvement and now Buducnost can prepare for its final game of the Top 16 knowing that a win of 4 points or more over Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana will be enough to advance, by leaving both teams with a 3-3 record and overturning a 74-71 road defeat in Round 2.
It won’t be easy, but with the relentlessly consistent offense it showed on Wednesday night, anything is possible.