A three-point play from James Anderson with 2.5 seconds remaining was enough to seal Zalgiris’ place in the Euroleague Top 16 after they beat Dinamo Sassari 80-79 in their Group A encounter in Kaunas.
The Italian side, eliminated with a 1-9 record were leading 77-70 in the final two minutes when the Lithuanians made their move and a 10-3 finish got them over the line, mainly thanks to the heroics of Anderson, who led all scorers with 26 points.
“It wasn’t me, it was a team effort,” Anderson stated afterwards. “We knew we had to give everything on the court and to win. And we did it tonight. I had a good opportunity and I was able to use it. Coach drew the play for me, I got some space, drove to the basket and hit it.”
Nizhny Novgorod joins Zalgiris in the Top 16 as they beat Unics Kazan 78-74 at home. Both teams finish the regular season with 5-5 records but Nizhny pip Kazan due to a superior head-to-head record.
Despite leading for chunks of the game, Unics never looked comfortable and soon enough, Nizhny were back and a Terence Kinsey three-point play put them 61-60 ahead in the fourth and they would never relinquish their advantage.
Kinsey paced the winners with 23 points. Trey Thompkins added 17 as Nizhny’s first Euroleague experience sees them in the Top 16 for the first time. Keith Langford led Unics with 24 as his side continue in the Last 32 of the Eurocup.
“We were giving up way too many easy shots and just tried to focus on that,” Kinsey said. “We made plays in the end; guys came in like and played defence really well. Making it to the Top 16 was the whole goal. I expect nothing but the best and now I expect us to make it to the playoffs. We have to take one game at a time and one practice at a time. Nothing is impossible. We have to dream big.”
Barcelona stormed past Panathinaikos 80-67 in a Group C clash in Athens that was overshadowed when the arena was forced to be evacuated at half-time due to a bomb threat.
After a delay that lasted roughly an hour, Barcelona, leading 40-24 continued where they left off and sealed a routine win. Both teams had qualified to the Top 16 before the clash.
Marcelinho Huertas led Barca with 17 points and 9 assists. Antonis Fotis led the hosts with 14.
Fenerbahce bested Bayern Munich 87-81 in Istanbul as the Turkish side move on to the Top 16 and Bayern drop to the Eurocup Last 32 from Group C.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the winners with 16 points. Oguz Savas added 15 while Nemanja Bjelica had 14 for Fenerbahce. Nihad Djedovic led Bayern with a game-high 19 points, with Bo McCalebb adding 16 against his former club.
Cedevita Zagreb finished their Euroleague campaign with a 70-67 win away to ALBA Berlin in Group B.
A game-changing 10-2 run late in the fourth was enough for Cedevita, as they denied ALBA third place in the group. The Germans finish 4-6 and settle for fourth.
Miro Bilan led Cedevita with 12 points as the Croatian side head to the Eurocup on a high.
“I am very happy that we finished our Euroleague season with a win,” Cedevita coach Jasmin Repesa We came here to win the game and believed in it for 40 minutes.”