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Barcelona run rampant as first lot of clubs head to Top 16, Euroleague hangover

Euroleague Basketball
Alexander Vezenkov - Courtesy of Euroleague.net

Barcelona connected on a team-high 17 three-pointers as they breezed past Stelmet Zielona Gora 93-64 on the road to advance to the Euroleague Top 16 via Group C.

It was a long-range masterclass from the 2010 champions as they claimed their sixth straight victory and go to 6-1 with Alex Abrines pacing the Catalan side with 16 points.

“I am very happy,” said Barca coach Xavi Pascual. “It was great game with a great atmosphere. The fans from Zielona Gora are great. For us it is a very important win.”

Mateusz Ponitka paced the hosts with 11 points as Stelmet Zielona Gora go to 1-6.

Unicaja Malaga have also booked their spot in the Top 16 after beating Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 82-68 in Group D.

A 20-0 run led by Nemanja Nedovic that bridged the first and second quarters put Unicaja in control for the rest of the contest as it led to a 48-31 advantage for the Liga Endesa side, which they never relinquished.

Will Thomas led Unicaja with 20 points as they improve to 6-1 and drop Maccabi, the 2014 champions to 1-6 as they are in grave danger of being eliminated in the group stages for the first time this century.

Bayern Munich surprised Khimki by winning 81-70 in the Russian capital in Group A.

The Germans took a sizable double-digit lead going into the third quarter only for Khimki to bring it back to 59-54 but that was as close as it got for them. Bayern, led by John Bryant’s 17 points improved their record to 3-4, while the Russians dropped to 4-3.

Elsewhere in Group A, Fenerbahce qualified to the Top 16 as they had little trouble in dismissing Strasbourg 81-64 in Istanbul.

Jan Vesely led the winners with 20 points on 9/11 two-point shooting, as the Turkish giants improve to 6-1.

“In the beginning it was a tougher game, even though the result shows it different,” Vesely said. “They played hard. We tried to play our game, like we did the last two games. We did it from the beginning. There were moments that we didn’t, but I am happy for the team how it’s playing right now.”

In a full Group B programme, Olympiacos their place in the Top 16 with a physical 59-52 win over Laboral Kutxa.

Vassilis Spanoulis led the winners with 10 points, but seven other Olympiacos players scored six or more. Ioannis Bourousis led Laboral with 16 points and 15 rebounds as they fall to 4-3.

EA7 Milano picked up a valuable 88-84 win at home against Anadolu Efes as they go to 2-5, playing without the injured Alessandro Gentile.

Jamel McLean collected 26 points for the Italian side in the win.

Cedevita Zagreb took a huge step towards Top 16 qualification through Group B as they led from tip-to-buzzer en route to a 78-69 win over Limoges in France.

The Croatians improve to 4-3, while Limoges drops to 2-5.

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