Congratulations to these five teams that secured Eurocup Eighthfinals tickets with wins on Wednesday: FC Bayern Munich, debutant Dolomiti Energia Trento, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, EWE Baskets Oldenburg and Zenit St. Petersburg. A road win for previously-qualified Unics Kazan secured it first place in Group M. At least one team has advanced from every group except to Group N. Lots of showdown on tap to decide the remaining eight spots in the knockout stages next week.
Nihad Djedovic and Alex Renfroe starred as FC Bayern Munich defeated Banvit Bandirma 77-62 to book its ticket to the Eurocup Eighthfinals. Djedovic tallied 28 points and 6 rebounds, while Renfroe collected 13 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists. Banvit opened the game with a 0-13 lead, but Bayern went in front by the end of the first quarter. The visitors did grab another lead, 40-41, early in the third, but Bayern used an 11-0 run to pull away for good and improve to 4-1. Adrien Moerman scored 20 points while Dominique Johnson picked up 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists for Banvit, which at 3-2 shares second place with Dominion Bilbao Basket, which routed ratiopharm Ulm 83-65. Banvit hosts Dominion BB next week in a winner-takes-all clash for a berth in the next stage. Dairis Bertans knocked down 4 three-pointers in scoring a team-high 18 points for Dominion BB against Ulm, while Axel Hervelle had 14 points in victory.
In a clash for the top spot in the group, Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas topped previously undefeated Strasbourg 68-79 on the road. Both teams are now 4-1 in the Last 32, but Gran Canaria holds the tiebreaker after making up for a 9-point defeat at home against Strasbourg in Round 1. Gran Canaria will finish first in the group with a home win over Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem next week or a loss by Strasbourg at Avtodor Saratov. DJ Steeley led the way for Gran Canaria with 16 points while Sasu Salin and Pablo Aguilar both had 15 points in a game in which Gran Canaria never trailed after first quarter, but it was 58-59 with 7 minutes to play. That’s when Aguilar, Salin and Albert Oliver connected from downtown four times in less than 5 minutes, helping the visitors to 66-77 lead, paving the way to victory. Jeremy Leloup had 20 points for Strasbourg. In a clash of two already eliminated teams, Travis Peterson and Paul Stoll came up superb performances as Avtodor Saratov won a shoot-out with Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 94-103. Peterson nailed 7 three-pointers in scoring 29 points while Stoll dished out 13 assists to go with his 19 points. Rafi Menco had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 steals for Jerusalem which dropped to 0-5 in the Last 32.
In a high scoring affair, EWE Baskets Oldenburg edged Limoges CSP 92-88 to book its place in the eighthfinals for the first time ever. Oldenburg, which had never been past the Eurocup Regular Season prior to this, improved to 4-1 and clinched first place in Group I. Neither team held a double-digit lead at any point during the game, which went down to the wire. Brian Qvale and Vaughn Duggins made clutch plays in the final four minutes of the contest to secure a historic win for the hosts. Duggins scored 21 points to lead the way. Will Daniels had 15 points for the French champ, which dropped to 2-3, but holds its destiny in its hands since PAOK Thessaloniki held off Valencia Basket 75-72. Now Limoges needs to win next week at home against PAOK to go through, while PAOK and Valencia can also advance, but need to win and get some help, too. PAOK never trailed after going on a 16-2 run that bridged first and second quarters. The hosts had one of their 8-point leads, 56-48, in the third quarter, but Valencia rallied in the fourth. The score was tied at 66-66, but Will Hatcher hit a key three-pointer, then sealed the deal from the foul line in the waning seconds to finish with 18 points. Guillem Vives scored 19 for Valencia, which suffered its third consecutive loss after starting the Eurocup season with 12 wins in a row. In the final week, PAOK visits Limoges, while Valencia hosts Oldenburg.
Krunoslav Simon scored a Eurocup career-high 28 points in leading EA7 Emporio Armani Milan to a come-from-behind 92-79 win over ALBA Berlin. It was the fourth straight win for Milan, which not only booked it a place in the eighthfinals, but also clinched first place. ALBA used a strong start to go up by 11 points in the first quarter, but Milan rallied before halftime, then ran away behind Simon in the third quarter and never looked back. Kresimir Loncar scored 20 points in 19 minutes for ALBA, which dropped to 2-3. In the first game of the day, Neptunas Klaipeda rallied late to beat Aris Thessaloniki 72-68 and keep alive its chances to progress to the next round. Facing a must-win situation and with time running out down 56-63, the hosts put together a 13-0 run in the final 3:10 of the game. Daniel Ewing had 18 points, 6 steals, 4 assists and 5 rebounds to pace Neptunas, while Martynas Mazeika and Donatas Zavackas each scored 16 in victory. Next week, ALBA can go through if it beats Neptunas at home.
History was made when Dolomiti Energia Trento defeated host Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 72-84 to clinch first place in the group and a spot in the knockout rounds in its debut season in the competition. The home team trailed by 5 early in the third quarter when Julian Wright led Trento on a 0-18 run, during which he scored 7 and assisted on another 7 points! Reggio Emilia never recovered from that. Davide Pascolo missed just 2 shots while scored 25 for the winners, who improved to 4-1 with the third straight victory. On Tuesday, Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir routed fellow Turkish foe Trabzonspor Medical Park 43-76 to storm back into the qualification picture. Karsiyaka now holds the tiebreak between these teams, but Karsiyaka, Reggio Emilia and Trabzonspor can all still advance. Colton Iverson finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds and Lazeric Jones amassed 13 points as every Kasriyaka player scored at least one basket. The hosts led 16-15 late in the opening quarter before a 0-12 run helped Karsiyaka to a 15-point halftime lead, which grew to 25 through three quarters and peaked at 36 in the fourth.
Zenit St. Petersburg downed Umana Reyer Venice 79-72 at CSKA Moscow’s Alexander Gomelskiy Universal Sport Hall in the Russian capital, where it also clinched first place in the group and a ticket to the Eurocup Eighthfinals. Venice dropped to 2-3, but can still advance to the elimination rounds. Janis Timma led the winners with 17 points and Pavel Antipov posted 10 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Owens led Venice with 16 points. The hosts led 44-38 at halftime and boosted the margin to 61-49 on a dunk by Andrey Koshcheev. Venice managed to get within 65-61 late in the third quarter but Timma and Ryan Toolson stepped up in crunch time and Zenit improved its defense to cruise to a well-deserved win. A monster game by Jon Brockman and clutch free-throw shooting by Rocky Trice and Tekele Cotton paved the way as MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg edged Stelmet Zielona Gora 76-81. Ludwigsburg improved to 2-3, which is the same record as Zielona Gora, but the Polish champs hold the tiebreak advantage between the two thanks to a 9-point victory in Round 1 in Germany. Jon Brockman posted 19 point and 17 rebounds, while Trice added 14 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Trice posted 10 first-quarter points to help the visitors to a small lead before a 0-8 second-quarter push made it a double-digit Ludwigsburg lead. Zielona Gora rallied to tie it and only trailed by 2 at halftime. After Ludwigsburg restored a double-digit lead, Zielona Gora roared late and came within 1 on a Mateusz Ponitka triple in the final minute, but free throws by Trice and Cotton sealed the Ludwigsburg victory.
After clinching an eighthfinals berth last week, Unics Kazan edged Nizhny Novgorod 78-80 on the road to locked up first place. Unics improved to 5-0, while Nizhny dropped to 2-3 and faces a do-or-die showdown against Maccabi FOX in Tel Aviv next week. Anton Ponkrashov posted 26 points on 6-of-6 three-point shooting for Unics, which was without top gun Keith Langford. Semen Antonov led Nizhny with 27 points. Union Olimpija Ljubljana held off Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 73-66 on Wednesday night for its maiden win in the Last 32. Though Olimpija had already been mathematically eliminated from Top 16 contention, it played tough and outrebounded Maccabi 40-32. The visitors were playing shorthanded without Brian Randle, Trevor Mbakwe, Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith, but a red-hot Gal Mekel kept Maccabi in it late. However without much help, Olimpija was able to claim the win to improve to 1-4, while dropping Maccabi to its third straight loss and a 2-3 record. Sava Lesic led the winners with 16 points and Ronalds Zakis posted 13 points and 7 rebounds.
Everything remains open after five rounds of games in Group N. CAI Zaragoza downed Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 85-68 at home in front of over 7,000 fans to stay alive in the fight to make it to the elimination rounds. CAI used a huge third quarter to turn a 42-39 halftime lead into 66-47 margin. Slava Kravtsov led the winners with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari beat Szolnoki Olaj 90-74 to improve its chances to reach the eighthfinals, but it will need to win next week to make it happen. David Logan led the winners with 21 points, while Joe Alexander added 19 in the Sassari victory. After five games, CAI, Galatasaray and Sassari all have a 3-2 record. Next week CAI plays on the road against already eliminated Szolnoki knowing that a win will send it to the next round, but will also qualify if it loses and Galatasaray beats Sassari. Galatasaray qualifies with a win or if it loses and Szolnoki beats CAI.