Fourth-seeded MoraBanc Andorra hosts seventh-seeded Frutti Extra Bursaspor in the first 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals on Tuesday. Both teams are looking to reach the championship game for the first time.
Semifinal breakdown: MoraBanc Andorra vs. Frutti Extra Bursaspor
After finishing fourth in regular season Group A, Andorra did not expect to be hosting its semifinal game, but it is playing at home thanks to – Bursaspor. As the seventh seed, Bursaspor first rallied in the final 14 seconds of regulation before downing Partizan NIS Belgrade 95-103 in overtime in the eighthfinals and then held off Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 83-85 in the quarterfinals last week.
No. 2 seed Partizan and 3 seed Cedevita would have both had the right to host Andorra, which reached the semifinals thanks to a pair of come-from-behind wins. Andorra beat Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 74-64 in the eighthfinals through a big second half in which it outscored the opponent 38-22 over the final 19 minutes of the contest. In the quarterfinals, Andorra trailed 54-41 midway through the third quarter before rallying to beat fellow Spanish League side Gran Canaria 77-79.
Point guards on both sides will have key roles in this game. Codi Miller-McIntyre has been Andorra's motor as the team's top scorer (13.7 ppg.) and sometimes even more so with his 7.0 assists, which rank him second in the EuroCup this season. Miller-McIntyre has also averaged 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. Hannah is the only other Andorra player averaging double-digits in scoring (11.8 ppg.) and he has improved that number to 18.0 points during the post-season. Hannah also ranks second on the team in assists (3.7 apg.).
On the other side, Derek Needham and Andrew Andrews pull all the strings for Bursaspor. Andrews is posting 14.2 points and 4.3 assists, while Needham has 13.3 points and 4.8 assists. In the knockout stage, Andrews has averaged 18.0 points and Needham 17.0 with both playing more than 33 minutes per game. Bursaspor has committed the second-fewest turnovers (11.8 per game) and, led by Needham and Andrews, it will try to keep it that way against an Andorra side that has forced the third-fewest turnovers (11.7).
Both teams rely heavily on their long-range shooting and no team has made more three-pointers in the postseason than Bursaspor, which was tied for the most triples in the eighthfinals (13) and topped that mark by hitting a quarterfinals-high 14 threes. Bursaspor has done it at 46.6% accuracy, led by John Holland who is shooting 8-for-13 and Needham who is 8-for-15 in the two elimination games.
Andorra, on the other hand, has not shined with its three-point shooting like Bursaspor, but it has been an important factor. Hannah shot 6-for-10 in the eighthfinals against Buducnost and David Jelinek made 5 of 7 threes in the quarterfinals against Gran Canaria. During the regular season, in 10 wins Andorra averaged 10.1 triples on 39.6% shooting but just 8.3 per game on 33.2% in its six losses.
Sticking to coaching recipes
Andorra appointed Oscar Quintana as head coach days before its eighthfinals clash and he has guided the team to two big wins and a return to the semifinals, where Andorra already played in 2019. Quintana has spread the minutes evenly in those two games, using 11 different players in the eighthfinals and 10 different players in the quarterfinals, with all but one player spending more than 11 minutes on the floor. That approach has worked for Andorra, just like Coach Dusan Alimpijevic's plan has worked for Bursaspor.
Alimpijevic has gone the opposite way, using an eight-man rotation where playmaker Omer Al has made a brief 5-minute appearance. Each of the seven heavily-used Bursaspor players has averaged more than 22 minutes during the postseason and five of them are averaging double-digits in scoring in the last two games.