Akpinar propels Galatasaray past Benfica to secure first BCL win in Group G
In a crucial result in the 2023-24 Basketball Champions League, Galatasaray Ekmas orchestrated a decisive comeback, overturning a nine-point deficit to secure their first win of the tournament.
The match saw the Istanbul-based squad, 'The Lions', dominate Portuguese champions Benfica with a decisive 98-78 victory at the Sinan Erdem Dome.
Benfica start strong at the Sinan Erdem Dome
Gala looked destined for their third BCL defeat in three games when Benfica took a 9-point lead (11-20) in the first quarter, but the Turkish side rallied and took the lead at the end of the first half, never to let go. Zvezdan Mitrovic’s players proceeded to lead the game for 24 minutes and see off an important win.
The standout performance of Ismet Akpinar, who notched a season-high 22 points, was pivotal in Galatasaray's resurgence, especially with his seven-point spree in the third quarter that ignited Galatasaray’s run to make it a 13-point game (71-58). Akpinar shone with 7/9 field shooting and 4/6 from beyond the arc.
Despite battling shoulder pain, Dee Bost made a substantial contribution with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
The team's young star and current BCL Best Young Player, Sadik Emir Kabaca, continued his exceptional form, scoring a personal best of 20 points this season, along with seven rebounds and four assists, in this crucial third game of the Regular Season. Will this victory mark a critical turning point for Galatasaray?
On Benfica's side, Ivan Almeida's remarkable performance, highlighted by a spectacular double clutch reverse dunk and totaling 16 points at the Sinar Erdem Dome, stood out. Toney Douglas tried to keep The Eagles in the game, scoring the bulk of his 12 points in the second half, but his performance wasn’t enough to fuel the comeback.
This defeat leaves Benfica level with Galatasaray with a 1-2 record in Group G, setting the stage for a possible three-way tie depending on the outcome of the clash between PAOK Mateco and Hapoel Bank Jahav Jerusalem.
Galatasaray Ekmas - SL Benfica Highlights
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