Thrilling opening round of 2017/18 EuroCup action begins

The 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season has landed with a bang! There were six home wins and as many road warriors on Tuesday and Wednesday of Round 1, tipping off what promises to be a great season. Some of the most experienced teams in the competition won on the road, but also a newcomer, none other than Fiat Turin, which rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Cedevita Zagreb . RETAbet Bilbao Basket, FC Bayern Munich, Darussafaka Istanbul, Unics Kazan and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar also won on the road. ALBA Berlin and ratiopharm Ulm completed a good round for German teams with respective home wins. Lietkabelis Panevezys, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica and Dolomiti Energia Trento also won in front of their fans. The best news is that the 7DAYS EuroCup regular season has just started, so the best is definitely yet to come!

GROUP A

Road teams in Group A had a perfect opening week of action, and it was a memorable night for Fiat Turin which rallied from a double-digit deficit to edge Cedevita Zagreb 83-86. The hosts had a 12-point lead in the second quarter, but the second half turned into a back-and-forth battle that went down to the wire that went the visitors’ way in their first-ever 7DAYS EuroCup game. Trevor Mbakwe led the winners with 20 points, while Diante Garrett added 17, including key back-to-back triples that put Fiat up for good in the final quarter. Demetris Nichols led Cedevita with 17 points. Darussafaka Istanbul also rallied from an early double-digit deficit, pulling out a hard-fought 64-69 road win over Levallois Metropolitans. Neither team went ahead by more than 5 points in the final two and a half quarters of the game, turning it into a contest full of lead changes. In the end, it was Darussafaka that prevailed behind 13 points and 5 assists from Scottie Wilbekin. JaJuan Johnson also scored 13 in victory, while Klemen Prepelic netted 20 points for the hosts. Also a road winner was UNICS Kazan, defeating newcomer Morabanc Andorra 68-76 in the latter’s first 7DAYS EuroCup game ever. UNICS finished with 9 blocked shots, tying its competition club record, and it was the 2016 EuroCup Finals MVP Stephane Lasme leading the way with an all-round performance, collecting 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks.

GROUP B

Lietkabelis Panevezys made the most out of its home court advantage to start the EuroCup regular season in style, beating Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 86-72 in their Group B opener on Wednesday. Led by Ksistof and Darjus Lavrinovic, Lietkabelis used a big third quarter to turn a slim halftime deficit into a double-digit lead. The hosts never looked back after that as Ksistof Lavrinovic finished with 20 points, while Lorenzo Williams added 13 and 8 assists in victory. Curtis Jerrells led Jerusalem with 23 points. A couple of hours later, FC Bayern Munich registered an important road win, downing the 2016 EurCup champion Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 69-86 at Sinan Erdem Dome. Bayern took the lead for good in the first quarter before dominating the second stanza to open a 19-point margin before halftime. The visitors cruised the rest of the way as Vladimir Lucic led the charge with 16 points and Stefan Jovic dished 11 of his team’s 31 assists in victory. Meanwhile, Galatasaray’s Scotty Hopson scored game-high 19 points in defeat. In the Montenegrin capital, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica pulled away late to down Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 82-74 and record an opening-round victory after going winless in the last EuroCup season. The visitors were up by 6 points early in the fourth quarter, but Buducnost went on a 16-2 spurt, capped by a three-pointer from Nikola Ivanovic, and held on for a victory in which Kyle Gibson had 16 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Ivanovic finished with 15 points.

GROUP C

RETAbet Bilbao Basket almost let its 19-point lead slip away, but in the end celebrated 83-93 road win over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in their group opener on Wednesday. RETAbet led 36-55 in the third quarter, but the Lithuanianan hosts rallied within 75-79 with 5 minutes left. However, RETAbet prevailed as Dejan Todorovic poured in 20 points and veteran Axel Hervelle chipped in 13 in victory. Loukas Mavrokefalidis and Jimmy Baron both tallied 15 points for Rytas. Lokomotiv pulled out a 61-63 road win at Limoges CSP in a defensive-minded contest. Teams traded leads through the night, before Joe Ragland and Chris Babb scored late fourth-quarter baskets that put Lokomotiv up for good. Ragland had 19 points, and Babb added 13 in victory, while Axel Bouteille finished with 19 points for Limoges. The lone home winner in Group C was ALBA Berlin, which topped Partizan NIS Belgrade ALBA Berlin 111-85 behind five scorers in double figures. Spencer Butterfield paced ALBA with 24 points, and Luke Sikma followed with 19 points. Nigel Williams-Goss tallied a team-high 22 points for Partizan.

GROUP D

Trey Lewis and Toure Murry combined for 12 points during an 18-0 fourth quarter-run that saw ratiopharm Ulm come from behind for an 83-73 victory over Tofas Bursa in the 7DAYS EuroCup season opener at ratiopharm Arena on Tuesday. Lewis finished with 26 points in his EuroCup debut. In Wednesday action, Dolomiti Energia Trento overcame a slow start before taking control of the game en route to 85-75 victory over ASVEL Villeurbanne. Trento was often up by a double-digit margin, but the visitor made it a one-possession game early in the fourth quarter. However, Chane Behanan and Shavon Shields led the run that re-established a 12-point advantage, putting the game out of ASVEL’s reach. Behanan finished with 19 points plus 5 rebounds and 4 assists, while Dominique Sutton had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in victory. David Lighty led ASVEL with 17 points. In an exciting game that put a wrap on the opening round, Herbalife Gran Canaria pulled away late to down the visiting Zenit St. Petersburg 97-87. The hosts trailed for most of the night, but bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 22-5 run to open 89-78 lead, paving the way to victory. Among the five scorers in double figures, it was Oriol Pauli who put up 15 points in 17 minutes, while Pablo Aguilar and Eulis Baez scored 12 apiece. For Zenit, Sergey Karasev netted 18 points, as did Kyle Kuric, in his return to Gran Canaria.