Crvena Zvezda took one step closer to qualification for the Euroleague quarter-final, Playoffs after coming back from 19 points down to beat Unicaja Malaga 78-72 in the Top 16.
Unicaja had taken a 43-27 half-time lead, which gradually became 49-30 in the early stages of the third quarter and the Liga Endesa looked relatively comfortable until Red Star made their move.
The Serbs then went on a quick 11-2 run to narrow the deficit in the third then in the final period, they then burst out out of the blocks eventually with a 23-7 which bridged the end of the third and fourth quarters to secure the win and now they only need one more victory to advance to the quarter-finals.
Stefan Jovic led the winners with 16 points, seven assists and five rebounds as they improve to 7-4 in Group E, while eliminating Unicaja from Euroleague contention for this season.
“We are the only team in Europe that has a chance to make the playoffs, while currently playing Euroleague-level games in the domestic competition,” Red Star coach Dejan Radonjic boldly stated. “We had a tough match against Cedevita Zagreb in the Adriatic League three days ago, and we knew it will be a hard trip to Malaga, and we have prepared the game in a specific situation.”
Another team eliminated from Group E contention is Cedevita Zagreb after they lost to Anadolu Efes 80-76 in Istanbul.
Thomas Heurtel led Anadolu Efes with 19 points as they stay in quarter-final contention with a 5-6 record. Cedevita drops to 2-9 but will exit the Euroleague with heads held high.
The lone Group F game saw Olympiacos beat Zalgiris 74-59 in Piraeus as the 2013 winners move to 5-6.
Georgios Printezis led the winners with 17 points with Kostas Papanikolaou adding 11 in a comfortable victory.
“I believe that we controlled the game with good defence,” said Olympiacos coach Giannis Sfairopoulos. “They scored 59 points: that was the key, our good defence that stopped them. They couldn’t play on offence and we had some good moments offensively. We got the lead and controlled the game in the second half. We don’t see three more games, we see just the next one. We focus only on one game at a time.”