The 13th season of the Eurocup got underway last night as 36 teams look to earn a spot in next season’s Euroleague. There were two games in Group B on opening night with 16 more to follow tonight.
Gran Canaria looked impressive as they convincingly disposed of Cantu 101-81 in Las Palmas.
The hosts led 24-20 after the first quarter in what was a reasonably competitive first ten minutes. Neither side could make an early breakthrough even though both got into the respective early gears with good, steady offence.
Gran Canaria picked up the pace in the second period and pulled away from their Italian counterparts, finishing with a 9-0 run to lead 51-40 at half-time. That run turned out to be the ultimate decider.
“The team started a little bit distracted and they played with great intensity, but then the players found a way to lead the game,” Gran Canaria coach Aito Garcia Reneses said.
Kyle Kuric marked his Eurocup debut with 21 points for the winners, while Tomas Bella netted 14. James Feldeine led all scorers for Cantu with 25, but to no avail.
ASVEL got over their Euroleague qualifying disappointment by claiming a 70-64 away win against Artland Dragons.
Veteran David Andersen posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Taurean Green paced the French side with 15 points.
The game was nip-and-tuck for most of the first two quarters until ASVEL took their opportunities in the second half as a 6-0 run coupled with Artland missing their first five three-pointers saw a significant swing in momentum.
David Holston led the Germans with 18 points and 7 assists.
“We have had difficulties with our defence at the beginning of the season,” said ASVEL coach Pierre Vincent. “But today we did a very good job on the inside game. We defended the pick and roll and the post-up game well. We were less good on offence, but we improved our defence and that is a step forward.”