Top spots decided in three of four groups, EuroCup round up

With the 2017-18 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season at its decisive point, the three dominant team – Darussafaka Istanbul in Group A, FC Bayern Munich in Group B and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in Group C – all won to clinch first place in their respective groups. But elsewhere, only Limoges CSP joined the Top 16 celebrations, while three other teams saw their chances disappear. That just sets the stage for even more drama in the finals two rounds of the regular season.

GROUP A

Darussafaka Istanbul erased a 13-point third-quarter deficit and went on to beat UNICS Kazan 75-79 and wrap up first place in Group A. Darussafaka bounced back from its only loss of the season by completing a sweep of UNICS to improve to 7-1 while dropping the hosts, who have also clinched a berth in the Top 16, to 5-3. Scottie Wilbekin finished with 19 points and 5 assists for the winners. Stephane Lasme led six UNICS scorers in double figures with 18 points and 6 blocks. MoraBanc Andorra held off Cedevita Zagreb 78-71 to recharge its top 16 hopes. Andorra improved to 3-5 with its second straight win, while dropping Cedevita to 5-3. The Croatian champs would have advanced with a victory. Jaka Blazic scored 15 points off the bench to lead Andorra, which made 9 of 19 three-pointers (47.4%) and outrebounded Cedevita 38-30 in two keys to the game. Fiat Turin lived to fight another day for the Top 16 in its first EuroCup season after eliminating Levallois Metropolitans with a 92-86 home win. Fiat improved to 4-4 and kept a hold of fourth place by sending Levallois to 1-7. Deron Washington scored 6 of his 14 points in the final two minutes to seal the win. Sasha Vujacic led the winners with 17 points and Boris Diaw led the last stand of Levallois with 23 points and 8 rebounds.

GROUP B

FC Bayern Munich remained unbeaten through eight rounds with a 111-85 home victory over Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem. Danilo Barthel’s 21 points paced five players in double figures for Bayern, which already locked up first place in Group B the night before thanks to Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul’s win. Bayern set club records for scoring and team performance index rating (141) and tied its record with 29 free throws made. Galatasaray climbed back into the Top 16 picture with an 82-61 blowout victory over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. Dwight Hardy made 6 of 7 three-point shots and finished with 22 points for Galatasaray, which won back-to-back games for the first time this season and improved to 3-5. Buducnost, which would have secured a Top 16 berth with a victory, fell to 4-4. Lietkabelis Panevezys gave its Top 16 qualification hopes a massive boost with a hard-earned 82-85 overtime victory over Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Ksistof Lavrinovic shone at both ends of the game against his former team, scoring 14 of his 18 points in the opening and closing five minutes. The win lifted Lietkabelis to 4-4 and dropped Reggio Emilia to 3-5. Amedeo Della Valle led Reggio Emilia’s challenge with 20 points. The home team ultimately paid the full price for making only 8 of 19 shots from the foul line.

GROUP C

Limoges CSP advanced to the Top 16 24 hours after it recorded a 78-84 win at ALBA Berlin in the German capital. Danny Gibson nailed 4 three-pointers in scoring 16 points to go with 6 assists for Limoges, which improved to 4-4. After trailing for most of the first half, Limoges used a 3-23 run in the third quarter to take control and never trailed again. Limoges formally advanced on Wednesday when previously-eliminated RETAbet Bilbao Basket snapped its six-game losing streak and beat Partizan NIS Belgrade on the road 67-83. With RETAbet at 2-6 record and Partizan 1-7, the outcome lifted Limoges. Lucio Redivo led RETAbet with 20 and Nigel Williams-Goss had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for Partizan. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar secured first place in Group C by holding off visiting Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 77-68 on Wednesday. The win bumped Lokomotiv’s record to 8-0 and dropped Rytas to 4-4 and third place in the group. Mardy Collins and Ryan Broekhoff came up with clutch baskets to fend off a Rytas comeback. Collins had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, and Broekhoff netted 12 points with 8 rebounds for Lokomotiv. Rytas, which played without its leading scorer Loukas Mavrokefalidis, saw Chris Kramer lead the way with 21 points and 6 assists.

GROUP D

ASVEL Villeurbanne erased a double-digit second-half deficit to beat Zenit St. Petersburg 89-92 on Tuesday at Yubileyny Sports Palace and thus close in on a ticket to the Top 16. ASVEL improved to 5-3 with its second win over Zenit this season. Zenit dropped to 4-4. Justin Harper paced the winners with 18 points, while rookie Alpha Kaba posted 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. On Wednesday, Herbalife Gran Canaria joined ASVEL at 5-3 after downing ratiopharm Ulm 97-84 at home. The result Ulm dropped Ulm to 2-6 and ended its chances to make it to the next round. Marcus Eriksson paced the winners with 26 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting – three of them in a final 18-0 run that gave Gran Canaria the win. Trey Lewis led Ulm with 28 points. And In a critical game for both teams, Dolomiti Energia Trento recorded its first road win of its 7DAS EuroCup season by topping Tofas Bursa 79-91. Both teams now have 4-4 records. Tofas would have qualified with a win, but instead it fell behind Trento, which gained the head-to-head tiebreaker between them. Dominique Sutton paced the winners with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Kenny Kadji led Tofas with 18 points.