The 2015-16 Eurocup is sure to crown a first-time champion after eight teams who have never lifted that trophy before advanced to the quarterfinals this week. In fact, for many of the teams this will be the first time in the Eurocup Quarterfinals! The eighthfinals games were all close; only EA7 Emporio Armani Milan swept its series. Three teams – Nizhny Novgorod, Stelmet Zielona Gora and Strasbourg – advanced without the benefit of home-court advantage.
Quarterfinal A: FC Bayern Munich vs. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul
Quarterfinal B: Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora
Quarterfinal C: Strasbourg vs. Nizhny Novgorod
Quarterfinal D: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Dolomiti Energia Trento
Eighthfinal A: FC Bayern Munich vs ALBA Berlin
FC Bayern Munich knocked out German rival ALBA Berlin 84-75 on Tuesday. The second leg of their Eurocup Eighthfinals series was a winner-takes-all affair after the two teams tied Game 1 in the German capital. ALBA led early, but Dusko Savanovic led a 7-0 and an 8-0 run in the second quarter to set up a 44-34 halftime lead. Bayern held the lead throughout the second half, though ALBA refused to go away. The difference was 3 with three and a half minutes to go, but a 7-0 push restored a double-digit Bayern cushion, which sealed the outcome. Savanovic finished with 17 points as did Alex Renfroe to lead Bayern. Jordan Taylor starred for ALBA with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
Eighthfinal B: Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas vs. Limoges CSP
Even though Limoges CSP edged Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 77-78 to join a select group of clubs to win a Eurocup game in the Canary Islands, it was the home team that celebrated in the end. By virtue of a 17-point victory in Game 1, last season’s Eurocup runner-up Gran Canaria reached the quarterfinals with an aggregate victory of 159-143. Gran Canaria will face Stelmet Zielona Gora in the next series. Alen Omic led Gran Canaria with 15 points, Brad Newley added 13 and Kevin Pangos had 12 and 6 assists for the hosts, while Ali Traore led Limoges with 19 points and Bo McCalebb added 17. It was tied 42-42 at halftime before Traore fueled a 0-8 run ,which gave Limoges a 44-52 edge soon after the break. But Gran Canaria stayed within 54-61 after 30 minutes sealed the outcome behind strong fourth quarters from Sasu Salin and Omic.
Eighthfinal C: EWE Baskets Oldenburg vs. Strasbourg
After losing Game 1 at home, Strasbourg routed EWE Baskets Oldenburg 64-93 to easily win their Eurocup Eighthfinals series. Strasbourg took charge with a 0-11 first-quarter run and led by 13 at halftime. After Oldenburg closed to within 9 early in the third quarter, Kyle Weems, Rod Beaubois and Mardy Collins sank consecutive threes. The lead was soon in the 20s and Oldenburg never came close again. Collins led the Strasbourg attack with 16 points and 7 assists and Beaubois also scored 16, while Matt Howard posted 11 points and 11 rebounds as Strasbourg outrebounded Oldenburg 20-36.
Eighthfinal D: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Banvit Bandirma
Finding itself down 12 points midway through the third quarter, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan used a big rally to down Banvit Bandirma 79-76 in Game 2 of the eighthfinals. With a two-game series sweep, and a 161-155 aggregate win, Milan moved to the Eurocup quarterfinals where it will play fellow Italian side Energia Dolomiti Trento. Banvit led 43-55 in the third quarter, but Rakim Sanders, Oliver Lafayette and Jamel McLean fueled a comeback. Milan held Banvit without a basket for almost 9 minutes bridging third and fourth quarters, as the hosts grabbed the slim lead, and prevailed down the stretch. McLean paced the winners with 16 points and 7 rebounds, Lafayette netted 15, and Sanders in victory, while Adrien Moerman was top performer for Banvit with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Eighthfinal E: Dolomiti Energia Trento vs. CAI Zaragoza
Dolomiti Energia Trento defeated visiting CAI Zaragoza 79-65 to reach the Eurocup quarterfinals in its debut season in the competition. Trento won the two-game series 162-150 on aggregate after CAI won Game 1 a week ago at home by a single basket. Jamarr Sanders scored 9 of his 11 points in the third-quarter in helping Trento open a 55-44 lead. CAI did not go away, but never came closer 6 points the rest of the way as Trento’s defense finished the job. Julian Wright paced the hosts with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks, and Davide Pascolo scored 16 in a historic victory.
Eighthfinal F: Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Nizhny Novgorod
In what proved to be a Pyrrhic victory, Zenit St. Petersburg defeated Nizhny Novgorod 89-74, but it was the visiting team that celebrated. Nizhny advanced to the Eurocup Quarterfinals thanks to its 26-point victory in Game 1 to win the two-game total-points series by an aggregate score of 176-165. Semen Antonov led Nizhny with 18 points and Victor Rudd added 15 and 11 rebounds for Nizhny, while Ryan Toolson scored 24 points for Zenit. Nizhny led 41-43 at halftime before Zenit made its move in the third quarter. Though the hosts took a double-digit advantage, it never reached the range that would threaten Nizhny, which coasted into the next stage.
Eighthfinal G: Unics Kazan vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora
Despite going on the road for Game 2 of the eighthfinals with a 4-point deficit from the first game, Polish champion Stelmet Zielona Gora stunned Unics Kazan 54-71 and clinched a place in the Eurocup Quarterfinals. With this 17-point victory, Zielona Gora won the two-game series 139-126. Zielona Gora used a 0-11 spurt to end the third quarter with a 43-52 lead and never relinquished the advantage. Mateusz Ponitka scored all of his 18 points in the second half, Dee Bost recordd 17 points with 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, while Vlad Moldoveanu netted 12 in victory. The 54 points scored by Unics was the second-lowest point total for the club in the Eurocup.
Eighthfinal H: Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul vs. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir
Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul topped the fellow Turkish side Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir 93-65 to become the first Eurocup quarterfinalist. By a virtue of this 28-point Game 2 victory on Tuesday in Istanbul, Galatasaray overcame Karsiyaka’s 67-64 win in Game 1 and won the series 157-132 on aggregate. Errick McCollum scored 16 points as Galatasaray led 43-32 at halftime. The hosts opened a 20-point margin behind Vladimir Micov and Stephane Lasme in the third, before increasing it to 79-54 early in the fourth quarter. McCollum finished with 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds to lead six Galatasaray scorers in double figures, and Blake Schilb netted 17 points with 5 assists.