Darussafaka Dogus spoil Crvena Zvezda’s party, Euroleague Top 16 hangover

Euroleague Basketball
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

With 18,278 packed into Belgrade’s Kombank Arena and Crvena Zvezda aiming to become the first Serbian side since 2010 to reach the Euroleague quarter-finals, you could have been forgiven to think that eliminated Darussafaka Dogus were merely making up the numbers.

Instead though, Darussafaka Dogus ripped up the night’s transcript and came away from Belgrade with a comfortable 80-61 win in Group E leaving a dejected Crvena Zvezda and its fans sweating just a little bit longer on a spot in the last eight when it looked likely that they would progress in the early stages.

Taking a 20-15 lead, Red Star were good value for their advantage but the Turkish visitors hit back and they never took their foot off the pedal.

The second half was one-way traffic as Darussafaka Dogus took advantage of a nervous host team that looked lost at both ends of the floor. The win improves the Istanbul-based side’s record to 4-9, but with no chances of progression.

Crvena Zvezda meanwhile are still in control, despite the setback, but they have to get the job done in the final week of Top 16 action as they travel to Cedevita Zagreb needing a win or better still, hoping Anadolu Efes lose one of its two remaining games.

Scottie Wilbekin paced the winners with 19 points.

“We controlled the game all the way,” said Darussafaka Dogus coach Oktay Mahmuti. “Our plan was not to let Crvena Zvezda score easy points. In the second half, we played more aggressive in defence and several offensive rebounds gave us second chances.

“This win means nothing for us regarding our chances in the competition, but it means a lot for our self-confidence. We played in a sporting manner.”

The other Group E clash saw an already qualified Lokomotiv Kuban ease past previously eliminated Unicaja Malaga 81-60 as a fairly competitive contest was turned on its head in the final period.

Leading 62-55 after three quarters but by no means comfortable, Lokomotiv turned up the heat and went on a 10-0 in the fourth to pull clear and seal a win, which seals second place for the Russian side due to Crvena Zvezda’s defeat.

Matt Janning and Malcolm Delaney led Kuban with 15 points as they move on to 9-4.

Barcelona know that they need to win their games if they are to qualify for the Euroleague quarter-finals and they were in no mood to mess about, en route to a convincing 75-57 rout of Brose Baskets in Group F.

The Catalan side now moves to 7-6 and can advance with a win against Zalgiris in its final Top 16 game next week. With the loss, Bamberg now drops to 6-7 and now hold a slim shot at qualification to the Playoffs. Bamberg will be fourth if it wins its last game against Laboral Kutxa and both Olympiacos and Zalgiris win in week 14, but they would be eliminated in any other scenario.

“Truth to be told, it is a very important win for us,” said Alex Abrines, who led Barca with 13 points. “The team was fully aware of it from the very beginning of the game, and did an excellent job on offence and defence. We deserved the win.”

A tight Group F also saw Khimki see-off Olympiacos in surprisingly convincing fashion in Moscow.

Khimki’s 98-66 success means that they improve to 7-6, while Olympiacos; Final Four participants in five of the last seven seasons could be eliminated in the Top 16 as they fall to 6-7 and are no longer in control of their own destiny.

Finland international Petteri Koponen led Khimki with 21 points, including five three-pointers in that haul. Alexey Shved added 19.