Eurohoops: U-BT Cluj-Napoca and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg vying for last spot in Basketball Champions League

One spot left open in the Basketball Champions League Final Four with U-BT Cluj-Napoca and MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg both desperate to bring it home.

Via Johnny Askounis/

After Baxi Manresa, Hapoel U-NET Holon, and Lenovo Tenerife entered the Basketball Champions League Final Four backed by two wins in as many games opposite respective Playoffs opponents on Tuesday, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg rolled U-BT Cluj-Napoca to knot the remaining best-of-three series at 1-1 on Wednesday. Winner-take-all Game 3 follows at Cluj-Napoca’s BTarena next Tuesday (19/4, 18:00 CET).

“It was a disappointing game last week in Cluj because we had the game and we let it slip away. Compliments to Cluj, they never gave up, even when they were down 18, they fought back and made it interesting in the end. You can see that they play with a lot of heart. But we also played with a lot of heart today. For 40 minutes,” the German side’s boss John Patrick walked through Game 1 and Game 2, “Now we have a chance next Tuesday to fight to go to the Final Four, that’s what we’ve been working on all season.”

After sitting out the two previous editions of the BCL, Ludwigsburg returned seeking yet another extended run. Under the guidance of Patrick, in charge since 2013, the German outfit participated in the first three editions of the European club continental competition. Reaching the 2018 Final Four marks the largest success, at least until this season potentially generates a bigger moment to celebrate.

Banking in 92 points in Game 2 raised the number of scoring outbursts over 90 points to four during the 2021-22 season, as many produced in the two previous seasons combined, 2017-18 and 2018-19. Jonah Radebaugh and Justin Simon combining for an average of 29.1 points per contest have not prevented multiple balanced offensive showings as five or more players went into double-digits for the fourth time this season.

Dealing with injuries and most of the players missing at least one game has been the case for Ludwigsburg. On the opposite end of the approaching Game 3 collision, the Romania champions have been playing as underdogs all season long. In Germany, they were held to the losing end for only the third time in 15 outings though. Managing to top Group K in the Round of 16 clinched the home-court advantage in the series. The crowd support in Game 1 was indeed brilliant. Expect more of the same on Tuesday.

“They came with much more energy in the second half. That’s their biggest strength, and we didn’t react well to that,” noted experienced center Andrija Stipanovic before setting his sights on Game 3, “Congrats to them, we must prepare better in six days in front of our crowd to try and win the series.”

Heavy hitters

Players to watch in Game 3 include Brandon Brown of Cluj-Napoca and Jonah Radebaugh of Ludwigsburg, named BCL MVP of December and October, respectively. A couple of solid campaigns integrated in stat leading efforts for both sides, but only one will be extended to the Final Four.


Points per game
1. Justin Simon 14.8
2. Jonah Radebaugh 14.3
3. Ethan Happ 11.0

Rebounds per game
1. Justin Simon 7.9
2. Ethan Happ 6.7
3. Jonah Radebaugh 5.6

Assists per game
1. Jonah Radebaugh 3.0
2. Jordan Hulls 2.9
3. Ethan Happ 2.2


Points per game
1. Brandon Brown 14.6
2. Patrick Richard 14.5
3. Elijah Stewart 13.6

Rebounds per game
1. Dustin Hogue 6.3
2. Patrick Richard 5.0
3. Stefan Bircevic / Andrija Stipanovic 4.3

Assists per game
1. Brandon Brown 5.9
2. Patrick Richard 4.9
3. Andrija Stipanovic 2.6

Final Four

The Game 3 winner will stay alive and collide with Manresa in the Final Four semifinals. Hapoel Holon and Tenerife are already locked in the second pairing. The season-ending stage will be hosted by Bilbao between 6 and 8 May.

Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League

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