That Wasn´t Kemba Walker In The Corner But Bryce Jones(Limoges ESP Elite) Who Nailed The BCL Game Winning Buzzer Beater Over The MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

It was Tuesday night when I reached Bryce Jones (183-PG-1994, college: Murray St.) in Germany. Limoges CSP Elite had just landed in Frankfurt and now the team was on their way to Ludwigsburg via bus to prepare for the big do or die Basketball Champions League game against the MHP Riesen. The American who played at Murray State (NCAA) was calm in his speech, but totally focused on telling his life long basketball journey to me. He is one of hundreds of very talented guards overseas who had to start in lower leagues and pay their dues. It took him 4 seasons of toiling around in Montenegro and Serbia to finally reach an elite league with the Pro A in France. He had that refreshing positive self confidence in his words, but nothing that was too overblown. Besides he could back it up with the consistency that he has had in his first 4 pro years. Plus he had needed no adjustment period in the Pro A and Basketball Champions League as he is putting up stellar stats. This Season he destroyed Euroleague team Asvel scoring 28 points in a convincing win and hit Benfica for 26 points in a easy win in the Basketball Champions League. Early in the interview he had a defying sentence that showed that he is fully aware that he has been putting in the work and has been able to be consistent wherever he has performed. He said, ‘I think that my name is on the rise’. Little did I know that 24 hours later, he would put up another magical game with 26 points, and aid his team in coming back from 22 points most in BCL history and making the shot to bring the game to overtime and then going the extra step and nailing a brutal buzzer beater that ended the MHP Riesen’s Basketball Champions League season. After that incredible display of firepower and killer instinct, the guy definitely raised some more eyebrows in Europe. He also showed he was the best player on the court and held his own against ex NBA player and Lebron James teammate Will Cherry. ‘That’s crazy. I didn’t know he was in the NBA. It adds confidence to me knowing that I belong. I have played against many at that level. I just want to remain humble and confident and keep working and see what happens’, warned Bryce Jones. With every new breathtaking performance by the Brooklyn native, you can be sure more and more clubs will notice maybe even Euroleague and Eurocup clubs? ‘Possibly, but I have no idea. I have no idea what is next. As I have told you before for me the most important thing is to always get better. I just need to keep my progress going forward. That is all that matters for me’, warned Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

I reach the 28 year old 183cm Bryce Jones on Thursday afternoon after he and his teammates had landed at home in Limoges that is known for it’s decorated porcelain a little less than 16 hours after he and Limoges CSP Elite had made history being the first team in Basketball Champions League history to come back from 22 points down at halftime and win. There wasn’t celebrating in Ludwigsburg. ‘We pretty much chilled in the hotel. I don’t think there is any activity to be done in Ludwigsburg’, said Bryce Jones. It is difficult to imagine how massive this victory was for the organization. ‘This win is historic for the club. It is like another milestone. It is known that history will repeat itself. I’m really pleased that we could get it done and that I was a part of it’, said Bryce Jones. But at first it looked like the French team would have a long trip home as the German side jumped all over them and scored an unbelievable 36 points in the first quarter. It looked like the game was decided then. But it wasn’t the most points a team had put up against him in his career. ‘I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. They are a team that shoot the three really well. We went to zone early and tried to switch it up with mis match defense, but nothing worked. They swung the ball around really well and found their shooters. They got hot early which helped them’, stressed Bryce Jones. But the one sided game didn’t continue as Limoges rebounded and fought back into the game and trailed by only 11 at the break. ‘Our solid run calmed us down. We knew then that it was a game again. We were never rattled and just kept our composure. That comes from the experience that we have with certain guys’, said Bryce Jones. The American also knew that they couldn’t afford another first quarter in the third quarter and listened closely to what head coach Massimo Cancellieri barked at half-time. ‘He just told us to be real aggressive and pick full court. He also said to attack the ball, play with confidence and trust each other’, remembered Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

Instant success didn’t come right away for Limoges ESP Elite, but it came very slowly, but step by step. Their offense was functioning better, but the MHP Riesen had an answer ready a lot of the time. A big problem were the errors that Limoges did on defense fouling too often behind the three point line that the German side gobbled up with free throws. ‘Some three’s were ill-advised and others were bad close outs. There were also some questionable calls. It was tough to keep fighting so hard and trying to stop elimination and then allowing those mistakes. That can break you, but we stayed calm and focused on moving to the next play and making up for it’, expressed Bryce Jones. The guard who played 3 seasons in Serbia has had many great games in his career and was feeling it all game long and then came up big at the end to send the game into OT. Despite him having the hot hand all game long, he believes it was only logical to get the ball during money time. ‘My mid range was working well in the game and coach wanted me to continue to have the ball in my hands. I played through the pick and roll and trusted myself and my teammates. I like to play for the big moments. I’m from Brooklyn and not afraid of anything’, warned Bryce Jones. The tide didn’t turn in the Overtime period as the MHP Riesen continued to keep up the pressure and rapidly led by 6 points with about 3 minutes to play. ‘It was a small scale and I thought here we go again. They began with good defensive pressure and just played the way they usually do and got the crowd into the game. We took a deep breath and responded. That first bucket was really important, because we then knew that we would be fine’, commented Bryce Jones. He made two huge baskets in the overtime to get the team real close. ‘The first shot was the toughest, because I had just been subbed in. But honestly I had had a real feel for my jumper the whole night. It all felt routine and as if no one was there remembered Bryce Jones.

pic credit Basketball Champions League

The last possessions by the MHP Riesen weren’t bad, but they just couldn’t execute. Johnson missed a shot close to the rim a shot he usually makes, but didn’t which kept Limoges CSP Elite alive. With the clock running down and the contest dead locked at 94-94, the French team had one last possession to win the game. Everybody in the arena knew he would make the last shot. He has been studying guys like Dam Lillard, James Harden and Kyrie Irving his whole life, but his buzzer beater from the right wing looked more like Kemba Walker. ‘Cardiac Kemba. All those players are very comfortable taking shots in a situation like that. When I couldn’t turn the corner, I stepped back to see how much space I had to my defender. I was fortunate that he jumped first and that showed me that he couldn’t time it so I just shot it like it was a natural routine’, expressed Bryce Jones. The shot definitely looked good which was followed by that surprised look by him. ‘I won’t lie but I knew it was going in. From the release, I had a good flick. It felt like an automatic shot. It was muscle memory. My surprised look was just a human reaction. Oh damn we just won. I had that look when I saw the red light. I knew then that we had really won and they can’t react. So that is when I went running’, laughed Bryce Jones. He has connected on some buzzer beaters in his career and this will always be a very special one. ‘I hit one against Thomas Jeffersson in high school in OT. That first one will always be the biggest, because it told me I can make that shot. I also made one in JUCO and one for Murray State to send a game to OT’, said Bryce Jones. He may have been the hero, but one guy who won’t be forgotten by him and was a bit in his shadow was Jayvon Graves who had a huge 24 points in the monumental win. ‘We don’t win the game without him. We were down 22 and he had the heart to take risks and make shots. We don’t comeback without him. I was extremely happy for him. He had an outstanding game. I will continue to be on him to keep going’, stressed Bryce Jones. This win was massive for the club, but they want more. The sky is the limit for Limoges ESP Elite. ‘We aren’t satisfied, but will keep working hard. I won’t make any predictions, but I feel very confident in myself and team. We will continue to battle against everyone’, warned Bryce Jones

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