Fourth-quarter dominance let Besiktas end Paris Basketball's unbeaten run.
Stats review: Finding a way to win
Round 8 of the BKT EuroCup featured major tests for the teams at the top of both groups. In Group B, Dreamland Gran Canaria passed with flying colors, a 22-point victory over second-place U-BT Cluj-Napoca. In Group A, however, Paris Basketball suffered its first defeat as Besiktas Emlakjet Istanbul emerged victorious at Halle Georges Carpentier by controlling the details.
While Paris point guards TJ Shorts and Nadir Hifi combined to score 43 points, Besiktas held Paris to just 14 points around the rim, which ranks among the EuroCup's best marks in the last several years. For a team that has made an obvious effort to take away jump shots and chase shooters off the three-point line throughout the early part of the season, Besiktas flipped the switch and walled off the interior exceptionally well to make another defensive statement in Paris.
Besiktas also controlled the offensive glass, which allowed the visitors to control the tempo of the game and giving their offense just enough opportunities to take back the lead in the fourth quarter. On a night when neither team put points on the board very consistently, the 12 extra opportunities Besiktas had to score were just as important to their victory as their stingy defense. Coming into the game they had averaged 3.2 second-chance opportunities fewer than opponents, so Besiktas's efforts on that front marked another departure from the norm.
While several key details added up for Besiktas as a team, Matt Mitchell's 10-for-11 shooting from the foul line helped his team stay connected through the middle of the game and seal the victory late in the fourth quarter.
Given the way it occurred, Besiktas's Round 8 win certainly felt like a prime example of a team getting the job done by whatever means necessary.
The table above shows which teams this season have been doing best at finding ways to control the fourth-quarter action. Besiktas may not take the top spot on this list due to a lack of elite shooting consistency from beyond the arc, but their defensive excellence late in games is worth noting. Through eight games, its defense has allowed a EuroCup-best 14.8 points per game over the final 10 minutes. The win over Paris – who had been tremendous in the fourth quarter until then – showed that Besiktas can switch up strategies to give even the most dynamic teams headaches. In their first season competing in the EuroCup since 2016, Besiktas has solidified themselves as a team to monitor moving forward.