Real Madrid claim first road win, Euroleague Top 16 hangover

Euroleague Basketball

Reigning champions Real Madrid claimed their first road win of the Euroleague Top 16 as they beat Khimki 93-82 in the Russian capital.

It’s also the first time Real Madrid have beaten Khimki in their fourth encounter this season.

Gustavo Ayon led the winners with 24 points plus 13 rebounds, five steals and Sergio Llull added 17 points, six rebounds and 11 assists as Real improved to 4-3 in Group F, the same record as Khimki.

“We knew how difficult it is to beat Khimki; in fact we lost two times in the [regular season] against them,” Real coach Pablo Laso said. “They have a lot of talent at every position and it’s very hard to match them up. We started the game very well and moved the ball very well. We made shots and contested their offence, but in the second quarter we made some turnovers and were not able to go to the free throw line. So Khimki got a little lead.

“In the locker room we talked about our game plan. It was decided to change nothing compared to what we talked about before the game. In the second half we were able to rebound better and contest shots. Also we had offensive control. That helped us to establish our defence. I think our rebounds and intelligence playing in the offense was the key to take this important victory.”

The other Group F game saw in-from Laboral Kutxa defeat Brose Baskets 90-64 in Vitoria.

Ioannis Bourousis led the winners with 18 points and 11 rebounds in just 18 minutes on the court as Laboral Kutxa stay top of the group with a 5-2 record.

In Group E and Crvena Zvezda Belgrade led from start to finish as they toppled Cedevita Zagreb 94-74 in the Serbian capital.

The win puts Red Star at 4-3 in the group, while Cedevita drops its third straight game as they fall to 2-5.

Watched on by world tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, Quincy Miller top scored with 22 points.

In Istanbul, Fenerbahce remain perfect in Group E by routing Unicaja Malaga 80-59.

After a closely fought first quarter, Fenerbahce pulled away in the second as Ekpe Udoh put his stamp on the game, turning a narrow 16-15 lead into a 41-28 cushion at the half and they never looked back. Udoh finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks.

“That’s a big win for us,” Udoh said. “To go 7-0 in the first half of the Top 16 is big. But we gotta stay healthy. We gotta get healthy. We gotta keep working. It’s a blessing to be a part of this. We are doing something special this year.”

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