By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Benfica defeated Norrkoping Dolphins 83 – 73 in a knockout game to become the first team from the Basketball Champions League Qualifiers to advance to the regular season of the competition.
This is the second straight year that Benfica joins the BCL regular season. The Portuguese League champions will participate in a tough Group G that also includes 2023 runner-up Hapoel Jerusalem, contender Galatasaray and PAOK Thessaloniki.
Betinho Gomes led the way for Benfica with 20 points while Terrell Carter contributed 18 points and nine rebounds. They both also made some key plays down the stretch in the decisive fourth period that their team dominated to get the win.
The Dolphins were up 60 – 56 near the end of the third period but Benfica went on to score nine unanswered points to sit in the driver’s seat. The hosts seemed unable to connect to the basket and with the score 65 – 68, their opponents made a a 0 – 6 run, capped by a big triple courtesy of Toney Douglas for the 65 – 74 with 4:59 remaining.
Benfica made sure to retain a secure advantage, never allowing the Dolphins to approach by a shooting distance to celebrate their qualification to the regular season. This was the second attempt by the Swedish League champs to move past the Qualifiers after 2018-19.
Felix Terins (19 points, six assists) and Marcus Tyus (17 points) stood out from the Dolphins.