EA7 Milano booked their place in the Euroleague Top 16 from Group C with a 66-64 win over already qualified Panathinaikos in the fashion capital.
The Italian champions had to sweat though for the final 25 seconds as Nicolo Melli split a pair of foul shots to give the hosts a two-point cushion. Defending for their lives, Dimitris Diamantidis was fouled with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. The crowd inside the Paladesio looked stunned, and hands covering the faces almost knowing that the veteran would steal victory for the Greens.
But Diamantidis missed both free throws and Milano celebrated the win and qualification with a game to spare.
Daniel Hackett led the way with 21 points for Milan. Diamantidis had 12 points and 11 assists for Panathinaikos, who were guilty of committing 21 turnovers.
“It was a difficult game,” said Mialno coach Luca Banchi. “We fought for 40 minutes with the right intensity. I hope that this game can be the best way to start the next part of our Euroleague season.”
Milano’s qualification to the Top 16 when Bayern Munich ended PGE Turow’s faint hopes of advancing from Group C with a 95-89 win in Germany.
Having edged ahead 88-87 with 34 seconds left, Dusko Savanovic buried a deep three-pointer to hand Bayern a 91-87 advantage and knock the wind out of Turow’s sails once and for all.
Savanovic ended with an impressive 31 points. Both teams have been knocked out of contention, going to the tenth and final round next week.
With both teams already through from Group C, not many expected a classic between Barcelona and Fenerbahce but instead, the crowd in the Catalan capital were treated to a thriller that went to overtime.
Fenerbahce though won 91-89, ending Barca’s unbeaten run at eight games with the Turkish giants moving to 7-2. Barcelona has virtually locked first place as both teams exchanged two-point wins while its overall score difference [+110 to Fenerbahce’s +50] makes it almost impossible to overcome if Fenerbahce wins and Barcelona loses next week.
Bogdan Bogdanovic paced the winners with 23 points. Nemanja Bjelica was the man of the game, forcing overtime with a tip-in and hitting the go-ahead layup with 2.9 seconds left to secure victory.
I am very happy with this win; you don’t win in Barcelona every day,” Bjelica commented. “It was a great game, really balanced, in which both teams had chances to win. The final play was not designed for me, but I got some space, got the ball at the right time and just had to score the ball.”
CSKA Moscow are now the only team in the Euroleague with a perfect record but they had to come from 20-points down in the third quarter to beat Unicaja Malaga 76-75 after a period of overtime in Group B.
Nando De Colo settled it for the Russians with 6 ticks left as his three-point play was not bettered by the hosts as they struggled to get a shot off in time, allowing CSKA to remain unbeaten at 9-0.
De Colo ended with 22 points. Sonny Weems, who took the game to overtime, added 12.
Euroleague holders Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv enjoyed an 82-71 win in Zagreb over Cedevita in the other Group B game.
Devin Smith led Maccabi with 14 points as they turned a subpar 15-14 deficit into a comfortable 43-34 leas the break and despite a few hiccups, won easily.