As many as 12 teams could have broken through to the Last 32 in Round 8, but in the end the list was much shorter: Dolomiti Energia Trento of Group A and Nizhny Novgorod of Group F got in with Tuesday victories and Dominion Bilbao of Group A and Avtodor Saratov of Group E both won at home Wednesday, while Group D’s Trabzonspor Medical Park did so on the road to clinch Last 32 spots.
Two teams qualified to the Last 32 with Round 8 victories. Tuesday saw Dolomiti Energia Trento edge JSF Nanterre in overtime 79-85 to advance. Julian Wright starred with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals for the winners, while Mykal Riley paced Nanterre with 24 points and 5 assists. Trento held Nanterre to just 9 second-quarter points to lead 33-37 at the break. Nanterre held a 4-point lead in the final minute of regulation, but the visitors climbed back. In the end, Trento was too strong in the extra session. Dominion Bilbao Basket pulled out a 73-68 win over EWE Baskets Oldenburg to reach the Last 32, too. It is the fourth straight win for Dominion BB, which led 64-48 late in the third quarter only for the visitors to reply with a 2-20 run. But the hosts scored the last 7 points of the contest as Dairis Bertans led the way with 15 points, while Giorgos Bogris amassed 9 points and 14 rebounds. Union Olimpija Ljubljana held off Telekom Baskets Bonn 88-93, making its push towards a spot in the Last 32. Olimpija pulled away to an 18-point margin midway through the fourth, only for Bonn to answer with a 16-0 run. But Olimpija prevailed as Sava Lesic finished with 24 points.
Already-qualified Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas cruised to a comfortable 71-88 win over Enel Basket Brindisi, jumping into the sole possession of first place. Sasu Salin netted 21 points on 5-for-8 three point shooting and Alen Omic amassed 17 points plus 11 rebounds, as Gran Canaria led from the start and broke the game open with a 2-20 fourth-quarter run. Le Mans Sarthe Basket edged ALBA Berlin 80-86, sweeping ALBA and keeping alive its chance of advancing to the Last 32. The visitors took the lead for good midway through the second quarter, and Mickael Gelabale and Tywain McKee scored key baskets in the third quarter for Le Mans to pull away. The hosts rallied, but McKee made clutch free throws as he finished with 25 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in victory. Rimantas Kaukenas hit a last-second shot to lift Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg 69-68 on Wednesday night. Both teams are now tied at 5-3 record in a share of the second place in Group B, and need to win one more game, or see one more Le Mans loss to mathematically secure their place in the Last 32. The teams traded leads throughout 40 minutes, and Ludwigsburg went up by a point with 3 seconds to go on Rocky Trice free throws, but after a timeout Kaukenas scored a game-winner on the other end for Reggio Emilia victory. Kaukenas finished with 15 points, and Darjus Lavrinovic scored 14 to lead the hosts.
CAI Zaragoza edged SLUC Nancy 75-71 to snap a two-game losing streak and take a giant step towards the Last 32. CAI trailed by up to 8 points in the third quarter before taking the lead for good in the fourth. Joan Sastre made a key block and Tomas Bellas made 2 free throws in the waning seconds to win the game. Stevan Jelovac collected 14 points and 9 rebounds and Sastre had 13 points in victory. Proximus Spirou Charleroi rallied to beat Umana Reyer Venice 86-83. Jimmy Baron scored 18 points as one of four players to score at least 15 points for Spirou, which trailed 61-73 early in the fourth before an 11-0 run got it back to 77-77. In the final minutes, Kevin Tumba, Pavel Pumprla and Jimmy Baron made key plays to lift the hosts to victory. Tumba collected 17 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks and Pumprla had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists. Valencia Basket edged ratiopharm Ulm 93-88 to remain undefeated. Guillem Vives scored 18 points to lead the team to an 8-0 record.
The first Last 32 qualifier from this group is Trabzonspor Medical Park, which held off Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 79-82 to advance. Trabzonspor became the first team to win in the Montenegrin capital this season as it improved to 5-3. The visitors led throughout the second half, but allowed Buducnost to rally from 71-79 to within 1 in the closing seconds before securing the win. Dwight Hardy had 22 points and 5 assists, while Novica Velickovic posted 16 points and 11 rebounds. Bojan Subotic scored 19 to lead Buducnost which dropped to 3-5. Aris Thessaloniki outlasted Unics Kazan 76-70 as both teams now sport 5-3 records. Aris pulled away to 67-59 in the fourth, then held on in the end as Jerel McNeal netted 15 points while Keith Langford finished with 25 points for Unics. Banvit Bandirma thrashed Steaua CSM EximBank Bucharest 90-60, behind 18 points from Courtney Fortson, while Dominique Johnson added 17 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Steaua was as close as 55-47 late in the third quarter, but Johnson stepped up with three shots from downtown and got plenty of help from Fortson to seal the outcome.
Avtodor Saratov downed Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 109-92 at home to qualify for the Last 32. Travis Peterson led the winners with 25 points and Evgeny Koleshnikov added 24 on 5-of-5 three-point shooting. Avtodor led 25-18 after 10 minutes and Artem Zabelin capped a 9-0 run with a dunk as Avtodor boosted its margin to 52-35 at halftime. Little changed after the break as Avtodor celebrated a historic win. Already-qualified Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Szolnoki Olaj 89-64 at home to remain atop the group standings. Ryan Toolson led the winners with 28 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting. Dmitry Golovin and an unstoppable Toolson boosted the hosts’ lead to 24-10 after 10 minutes, Zenit fended off a mini-rally in the second quarter and despite the visitors’ best efforts, the game was never in doubt in the second half. PAOK Thessaloniki scored a 73-75 overtime victory over Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul at the Sinan Erdem Dome. William Hatcher starred with 32 points, including 2 free throws to tie it with 7 seconds left in overtime and a pull-up jumper to win it. In between, his defense forced Besiktas guard Nate Wolters into a backcourt violation that gave PAOK the extra shot to win it.
In the first game played in Round 8, Nizhny Novgorod beat AEK Athens 86-79 on Tuesday to secure its place in the Last 32. Nizhny rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to improve to 5-3 and move within one win of Group F leader Galatasaray Odeabank. AEK did hold on to any potential tiebreaker between the teams, because it won their previous meeting by 17 points in Round 3 in the Greek capital. Victor Rudd paced the winners with 15 points and Kaspars Berzins posted 10 points and 11 rebounds. After AEK scored the first two baskets of the second half to lead 44-56, Nizhny rallied to tie it by the end of the third quarter and Ivan Strebkov hit some big shots in the fourth as he and Rudd led the hosts to the victory. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem edged Galatasaray 86-82 at Pais Arena Jerusalem to keep its Last 32 hopes alive. The game was close throughout tied early in the fourth. It came down to the final minute and the teams traded points until missed free throws by Galatasaray scorer Errick McCollum created space for Jerusalem and E.J. Rowland made it a two-possession game from the line. Rowland finished with 21 points and 6 assists for the winners, while Donta Smith amassed 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals. On Wednesday, Neptunas Klaipeda knocked Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd out with a 74-97 win. A 12-2 run midway through the second quarter opened a double digit cushion for Neptunas, which led 29-43 at the break. Another 11 unanswered points early in the second half made it a 20-point game and Neptunas kept the huge difference till the final buzzer. Vytautas Saraskauskas led the winners with an outstanding performance of 24 points on 6-of-7 two-point shooting and 10 rebounds. Oktyabr was eliminated from Last 32 contention after dropping its sixth straight game.
Source: Eurocup Basketball