Euroleague Basketball

Euroleague champions Real Madrid claimed the final Top 16 place in Group A after dismantling Strasbourg 97-65 in the Spanish capital.

Facing the very real possibility of elimination from the group phase, a first for the team that had won the Euroleague last season, Real stormed out of the blocks, leading 29-15 after the first quarter and never looking back.

Jeffery Taylor led Madrid with 16 points and Sergio Rodriguez added 14 as the holders finish with a 5-5 record. Not perfect, but enough.

“It was really hard for us to make it to the Top 16, but we improved in time to make it,” Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso said. “We are growing as a team and doing things well, but it something hard for people to understand that even when we lose, the team can grow.”

Rodrigue Baubois paced Strasbourg with 17 points.

Fenerbahce finish Group A proudly on top of the table as they beat Khimki 70-68 in the Moscow Region.

Jan Vesely led Fenerbahce with 19 points but it was Bogdan Bogdanovic’s tip-in with 4.9 seconds remaining that won the game for the Turkish giants.

Despite defeat, Khimki advance with a 5-5 record.

The 2014 Euroleague champions Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv defeated Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 70-66 in Group C but despite the win, were unable to better the 11-point win that the Turkish side achieved in their corresponding game in Israel and were eliminated.

Both teams finished with 4-6 records, but Darussafaka placed fourth and went through, while Maccabi is fifth. This means that for the first time in their history, Maccabi will compete in the Eurocup Last 32.

The other Group D game saw Brose Baskets thrash Dinamo Sassari 86-54 in Bamberg. Both teams’ respective fates were sorted prior to the contest.

Brose Baskets finish with a 6-4 record in the pool while Sassari bows out with a 0-10 record – the first time a Euroleague team has failed to win a regular season game since Cibona Zagreb went 0-10 during the 2010-11 season.

Panathinaikos were 75-72 victors at Zalgiris in Group C as the Greek giants finish the regular season with a 6-4 record, while the Lithuanian champions end with a 5-5 mark.

A free throw by Dimitris Diamantidis gave Panathinaikos a 72-75 edge with 6 seconds left. Zalgiris found Brock Motum wide open in the left corner, but his shot hit the rim.

Both teams advanced despite the scoreline.

In Group B, Laboral Kutxa eased past Cedevita Zagreb 92-70 in a game where both teams had already qualified to the Top 16.

Fabien Causeur led Laboral Kutxa with 20 points as the Liga Endesa side celebrated their 200th win in the Euroleague.