The regular season campaign hit the final stretch with Round 6. After all the excitement and drama, two teams remain unbeaten and one of them – Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas – became the first to claim its place in the Last 32. Seven teams won on the road in Round 6, including all in the Group E games. Six more teams are only one win away from securing Last 32 berths and can all clinch their place in the next stage with a victory when action resumes next week.
In a key game atop the group standings, Strasbourg thrashed Telekom Baskets Bonn 76-4 at home on Wednesday. Strasbourg improved to 5-1 while knocking Bonn down to third place at 3-3. Jeremy Leloup led the winners with 13 points. Bonn used a 0-11 run to lead 14-16 after 10 minutes, but Strasbourg used a 9-0 run to take over early in the second half and dominated the rest of the way. In what could be a key game in the battle for a place in the Last 32, Paris Levallois edged CAI Zaragoza 90-87 in the French capital. Blake Schilb starred with 25 points and Mike Green amassed 17 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists for the winners, who improved to 3-3. CAI nearly pulled it out late, but Kevin Lisch missed twice in the closing seconds to tie it or go ahead. Brose Baskets Bamberg bested Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 75-61 at home on Wednesday. Janis Strelnieks led the winners with 20 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting. Reggio Emilia led 36-38 at halftime. Bamberg improved its defense after the break and a 10-0 run that Strelnieks capped with a triple gave the hosts a double-digit edge, 57-47, through three quarters. Bamberg boosted its margin to 72-53 midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back.
The first team to reach the Last 32 came from Group B: Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas beat FoxTown Cantu 63-80 on the road to improve to 6-0 and qualify for the next stage of the 2014-15 Eurocup. Gran Canaria led from start to finish, and used a 4-22 run that bridged the first and second quarters en route to a big lead, which it comfortably held throughout the game. Kyle Kuric scored 14 points in victory. In the first game with new head coach Nordine Ghirb at the helm, ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne held off Artland Dragons Quackenbrueck 84-83. The Dragons made 15 three-point shots in the game, which helped them rally on several occasions, but Taurean Green and Amara Sy helped the hosts prevail. Sy finished with 19 points, and Ahmad Nivins had 18 points plus 8 rebounds for ASVEL which improved to 3-3. Telenet Ostend defeated JDA Dijon 80-71. The hosts took control with a 26-5 run that bridged the first and second quarters, and their margin reached 24 points in the third, before Dijon attempted a comeback, but never got closer than 7 points the rest of the way. Mateusz Ponitka had 17 points for Ostend, and John Prince scored 15.
Virtus Rome is the exclusive leader atop Group C with a 5-1 record. Rome routed Proximus Spirou Charleroi 100-69 in the Italian capital on Tuesday. Bobby Jones led seven Rome players in double digits with 19 points. Rome dished 29 assists to only 11 turnovers. Dylan Page had 16 points for Spirou, which dropped to 1-5. Baloncesto Seville downed EWE Baskets Oldenburg 68-59 at home on Wednesday. Seville is fourth in the standings, two wins ahead Oldenburg and Charleroi, which tie for fifth place at 1-5. Alex Urtasun paced the winners with 15 points, including a triple that sealed the outcome, 63-53, with four minutes left. Adam Chubb led Oldenburg with 16 points on 8-of-9 two-point shooting. CEZ Basketball Nymburk edged SLUC Nancy 89-80 in Prague. Darius Washington led the winners with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Darius Adams had 22 points and 7 assists to lead Nancy. The two teams are tied for second place, each with a 4-2 record.
Behind the Eurocup’s leading scorer, Chris Lofton, Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul routed Union Olimpija Ljubljana 57-80on the road on Wednesday in the Slovenian capital. Besiktas grabbed sole possession of first place in Group D with 5-1 record, and all but qualified for the Last 32 after taking control of the game with 5 three-pointers in the first quarter. Besiktas then opened the third quarter with a 0-11 run for a 30-53 lead, breaking the game wide open. Lofton had 27 points on 6-for-10 three-point shooting and Engin Atsur added 13 points in victory. Earlier on Wednesday, getting back to the winning ways was Khimki Moscow Region with 79-86 road win over VEF Riga to improve to 4-2. The victory, behind 21 points from Tyrese Rice and 20 from Petteri Koponen, also gave Khimki a season-sweep of VEF. Meanwhile, Zenit St. Petersburg topped Szolnoki Olaj 81-61 for its third win in four matches. Walter Hodge paced the way with 20 points in a comfortable victory. For Olaj it marked a fifth consecutive defeat.
In the group opener in Hala Pionir on Tuesday, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius bested Partizan NIS Belgrade 76-85. Antanas Kavaliauskas scored 23 points and Gediminas Orelik added 21 for the visitors, who started the game 2-12 and remained in control the rest of the way. Martynas Gecevicius added 17 points; Both Orelink and Gecevicius dished 6 assists. On Wednesday, Rytas was joined atop of the group standings by Banvit Bandirma which edged Hapoel Jerusalem on the road 78-82. Banvit completed a sweep of Jerusalem, and all but mathematically qualified for the Last 32. Keith Simmons, Vladimir Dragicevic and Chuck Davis scored key baskets in the fourth quarter to give the visitors the lead for good, before they held on to victory from the free throw line. Davis scored 20 points, Earl Rowland had 19 with 7 assists, and Simmons scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. Bracey Wright netted 21 for the hosts, who dropped to 1-5. Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd defeated CSU Asesoft Ploiesti 79-96 on the road, more than avenging a 75-81 loss in Round 1. Oktyabr used a 2-17 run in the second quarter to take the lead for good, and a 0-13 third quarter run to pull away. Romeo Travis amassed 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Randy Culpepper scored 23 in victory.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar downed winless Stelmet Zielona Gora 78-68 to remain undefeated with a 6-0 record atop of Group F. Lokomotiv paved the way to victory with a 22-7 third quarter spurt, and now needs one more win, or one loss by either Buducnost or Ventspils, to qualify for the Last 32. Derrick Brown led the way with 17 points and 8 rebounds, while Eugeny Voronov netted 16. Buducnost VOLI Podgorica beat Ventspil 87-69, pulling away in the second half not only for an important victory, but also to win a tiebreaker battle. Both teams now hold 2-4 recorda, but with this win the Montenegrin champion overcame a 7-point Ventspils victory in their Round 1 meeting. Among six double-digit scorers, Omar Cook led Buducnost with 15 points and a Eurocup single-game record 16 assists. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir rallied to edge PAOK Thessaloniki 74-79. The visitors used a 1-16 run to grab the lead and win the game. Both teams now sit at 4-2 record, however, PAOK took the head-to-head tiebreaker as it won in Round 1 in Izmir by 6 points. This time around, D.J. Strawberry led the winners with 23 points and Bobby Dixon had 16 points with 8 assists.
Source: Eurocup Basketball