Four teams clinched spots in the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 in Round 8: Khimki Moscow Region and Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem both won and celebrated Top 16 berths, while Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar advanced despite falling to ratiopharm Ulm. And when Cedevita Zagreb defeated MZT, it sent already-victorious Nizhny Novgorod to the next phase, too.
Nizhny Novgorod held off previously-qualified Lietkabelis Panevezys 91-89 on its home floor to open Round 8 action and then learned at the end of the night that Cedevita Zagreb extended its win streak to five games by beating winless MZT Skopje 95-61 and in the process sent Nizhny into the Top 16. MZT was mathematically eliminated from Top 16 contention with the loss. Nizhny has swept Lietkabelis this season, improving to 3-3 record while dropping Lietkabelis to 3-4 after a game in which neither team held a lead bigger than 6 points the entire game. Nizhny’s 8-0 run in the final three minutes propelled it to victory as Ivan Strebkov scored a career-high 31 points on 4-for-6 shooting from long range and making 9 of 9 free throws. Deandre Kane and Siim-Sander Vene scored 16 apiece in victory, while Simas Galdikas and Ben Madgen each had 20 points for Lietkabelis. Cedevita used a big third quarter to pull out to a big margin, and cruise to victory that improved it to 5-2 and sole possession of second place. In Cedevita’s club record 34-point win, Ryan Boatright led the way with 20 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting.
Khimki Moscow Region used a 14-0 fourth-quarter run to come from behind and beat ALBA Berlin 88-77 at the Basketball Center of Moscow Region. The win lifted Khimki’s record to 5-2 for first place in Group B and secured its spot in the Top 16. Markel Brown, who hit a pair of threes in the decisive run, led Khimki with 19 points and Nobel Boungou-Colo shined with 18 points and 5 steals. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius won its third straight EuroCup game by defeating RETAbet Bilbao Basket 83-71 at Siemens Arena. Rytas improved to 3-3 in Group B, while RETAbet slipped to 2-4. The result also gave Rytas the potential head-to-head tiebreaker over RETAbet, which won the first meeting between the sides in Spain by 4. Rytas won by controlling the glass – it outrebounded RETAbet 39-23. David Logan was 4 of 7 from downtown for 23 points plus 6 assists to lead the winners..
In a group that had seen the four tickets to the top 16 issued already, FC Bayern Munich jumped atop of the standings by edging Unicaja Malaga 72-69. Bayern improved to 5-2 as Nick Johnson scored 8 of his game-high 20 points in the final two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Unicaja used a 1-17 run to go up 56-62, but Bayern rallied late to snatch the win. Jamar Smith scored 13 points for Unicaja which dropped to 3-3. Earlier, Zenit St. Petersburg cruised to 77-90 road win over UCAM Murcia. The visitors used three-pointers from Janis Timma and baskets from Ryan Toolson to race away to a 20-point margin in the second quarter, and Murcia never came closer than 8 points the rest of the way. Toolson netted 22 points, Timma scored 16 and Stefan Markovic had 14 points and 11 assists for 4-2 Zenit. Facundo Campazzo scored 17 points for Murcia which fell to 4-3.
Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem clinched a spot in the Top 16 by beating Union Olimpija Ljubljana 81-69 at Pais Arena Jerusalem in the Israeli capital. That win also ushered Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar into the next stage despite it losing to ratiopharm Ulm 105-101 after overtime. Jerusalem improved to 4-2 and Ulm to 4-3. Lokomotiv sports a 2-4 mark, while Olimpija fell to 1-6 and was eliminated from Top 16 contention. Yotam Halperin led a balanced Jerusalem attack with 12 points and 5 assists off the bench, while Bar Timor also scored 12 and Amar’e Stoudemire posted 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks for the winners. Devin Oliver led Olimpija with 18 points and 11 rebounds. In Germany, Ulm seemed to have the game won when Chris Babb nailed a three-pointer with 5 seconds left in regulation, but Mardy Collins tied it at the buzzer to force an extra session. Then the hosts scored the first 6 points and held on the rest of the way. Babb led all scorers with 30 points and Tim Ohlbrecht added 20. Collins paced Lokomotic with 26 points, 6 assists and 4 steals.