The extra week off did not help Fenerbahce’s cause as they had their Euroleague Top 16 unbeaten run snapped in Athens.
Panathinaikos’ 76-71 victory over Fenerbahce in Group E came after a second half surge by the hosts after they trailed for large periods of the first half. A half-time team talk later and the hosts grabbed the lead towards the mid-way point of the third quarter and never looked back.
“It is a great experience to play for the first time in a Euroleague home game,” said Panathinaikos’ Elliot Williams, who led with 14 points in his first game for the club.
“The atmosphere was outstanding and the fans pushed us a lot. Our coach prepared us to play a very good game and we did it against a great opponent.”
The Greens moves to 5-3 in the group while Fenerbahce drops its first game in the Top 16 in eight games. Ekpe Udoh led Fenerbahce with 19 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Darussafaka Dogus secured its second straight home win of the Top 16 by beating Unicaja Malaga 78-55 in Istanbul.
Both Darussafaka and Unicaja stand at 2-6 after round eight of the Top 16, but it’s becoming a worrying trend now the Malaga outfit, as they fall to their fifth straight loss; and in woeful fashion as they were carefully picked apart by a determined Turkish outfit.
Luke Harangody led the winners with 21 points and eight rebounds.
The third game in Group E witnessed Lokomotiv Kuban see off the challenge of Cedevita Zagreb 87-63 in Krasnodar.
Anthony Randolph’s 28-point, 13-rebound effort put him head and shoulders above everyone else on the court as he paced Lokomotiv to a straightforward victory in front of their home fans.
“We did exactly what we planned not to let them use their strong sides which is going to their bigs and playing with their backs to the rim,” Randolph commented. “I think it speaks more to the shape of the team.
“We’ve had a lot of time to get better. Coach does a great job of preparing us and I think we share the ball better than maybe anybody in the Euroleague right now.”
AYON DENIES OVERTIME TO SNEAK REAL OVER FINISH LINE
Brose Baskets came within a whisker of taking the reigning Euroleague champions to overtime but Gustavo Ayon had other plans.
The Mexican international blocked Bradley Wanamaker’s potential game-tying lay-up with 12 seconds left and Real Madrid closed the game with foul shots at the other end for a 90-86 win in Group F.
Sergio Llull paced the winners with 21 points, with six three-pointers supporting his tally, but Ayon’s block on Wanamaker was the key to the win. Real coach Pablo Laso expects these types of games though, despite making this far, this season’s campaign for them has been anything but convincing.
They are still knocking on the door though, improving to 5-3 in the pool.
Like I said, we are in a very tough group, we know it’s [going to] be day by day and right now we got a very good victory,” Laso said. “But we have another game next week.”
CSKA Moscow claimed back the Russian capital’s bragging rights with a 108-98 win over Khimki, to make up for their buzzer-beating loss in week one of the Top 16.
The 2008 winners were not to be denied this time though as Milos Teodosic led the way with 26 points for the 6-2 CSKA, who hit 16 three-pointers in a comfortable win.
Khimki drop to 4-4.
Laboral Kutxa came from a third quarter deficit to eventually end the brave challenge of Zalgiris in the third Group F encounter.
Darius Adams went for 17 points as Laboral Kutxa trailed 53-45 going into the final stretch but in the final three minutes, the Liga Endesa side took the lead and never relinquished it.