Quarter-final places confirmed, EuroCup Top 16 round up

Top 16 Round 4 saw the first teams clinch their tickets to the quarterfinals. Darussafaka Istanbul, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Buducnost VOLI Podgorica all had reasons to celebrate on a busy Wednesday, while three other teams were eliminated from quarterfinal contention and the race to advance in Group F heated up with four teams alive!

GROUP E

Darussafaka Istanbul roared into the quarterfinals with a 66-79 road win over ALBA Berlin to raise its Group E record to 4-0. ALBA, which fell to 1-3, led 21-11 after an early 19-5 outburst, but Darussafaka met that run with its own of 6-19 to take control before halftime. After ALBA regained a 47-46 edge late in the third quarter, the visitors responded with a 0-11 escape that proved the difference. Muhammed Baygul paced the winners with a career-high 18 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the arc. Scottie Wilbekin followed with 16 points and Howard Sant-Roos 15, the same as Luke Sikma had for Berlin. Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul survived a do-or-die situation by topping Herbalife Gran Canaria 76-87 on the road. Galatasaray gained its first Top 16, while Gran Canaria dropped to 2-2. Dwight Hardy led the winners with 21 points and Richard Hendrix added 13 and 13 rebounds against his former team. Ondrej Balvin led Gran Canaria with 15 points. Gran Canaria led for the best part of the second half, but Hardy and Summers combined for all the points in a 0-12 fourth-quarter run that won it for Galatasaray. The visitors made 11 of 26 three-point shots (42.3%) and limited Gran Canaria to just 5 of 24 (20.8%) from downtown in one of the keys to the game.

GROUP F

FC Bayern Munich came from behind to edge Zenit St. Petersburg 78-80 on Wednesday and take sole possession of first place in the group at 3-1. Reggie Redding hit what proved to be the game-winning jumper with 34 seconds to cap Bayern’s rally from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. The hosts led 66-52 early in the fourth quarter, but the visitors rallied behind Redding, Stefan Jovic and Devin Booker. Redding pace the victors with 18 points, Booker collected 17 points plus 12 rebounds, and Jovic had 14 points and 7 assists. Evgeny Voronov scored 17 points for Zenit, which dropped to 2-2. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius avoided elimination by downing Fiat Turin 101-68 at home. Rytas improved to 1-3 in the standings while Fiat dropped to 2-2. Martynas Echodas paced the winners with 22 points. Rytas led 54-30 at halftime, 77-53 after 30 minutes and never looked back. The hosts pulled down 58 rebounds, an all-time EuroCup record for a non-overtime game and the third-best mark in EuroCup history.

GROUP G

Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar clinched a place in the quarterfinals and extended its unbeaten run to 14 games with 60-85 road win at Cedevita Zagreb. Lokomotiv improved to 4-0 in the Top 16 and remained in first place in the group G, while Cedevita dropped to 0-4 and was eliminated from quarterfinals contention because Buducnost VOLI Podogrica defeated Dolomiti Energia Trento earlier Wednesday. Lokomotiv kept control of the game most of the night, before pulling away for good with a 0-12 spurt to open the fourth quarter and increasing the margin until the final buzzer. Lokomotiv’s defense held Cedevita to 1-for-23 three-point shooting, while making 13 of 26 three-point attempts. Trevor Lacey led a balanced Lokomotiv attack with 15 points. Danilo Nikolic hit a pair of free throws with one-tenth of a second to go to lift Buducnost to a double-overtime 105-106 victory over Trento and into the quarterfinals for the first time in five years. Buducnost won its third straight game to improve to 3-1 in Group G, while knocking Trento to 1-3 and ending its chances of advancing. Buducnost set a club record for scoring and came within 1 of the team-high for three-pointers with 14. Nemanja Gordic led the way with a career-high 23 points plus 7 assists.

GROUP H

Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia fought back from a 17-point deficit to beat UNICS Kazan for the second time in a week with a 76-75 win at home. Amedeo Della Valle poured in 21 points while Julian Wright collected 17 points and 8 rebounds for Reggio Emilia, which improved to 3-1. Stephane Lasme (18 points and 10 rebounds) and Quino Colom (17 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists) both had double-doubles for UNICS. Garett Nevels scored 7 points a 17-2 fourth-quarter charge that led the hosts back and later came up with a steal and assist to Wright for a dunk that gave Reggio Emilia the lead for good with a minute remaining. ASVEL Villeurbanne cruised past Limoges CSP in an all-French mismatch, gaining a 61-87 victory to improve to 3-1 and eliminate the hosts, which dropped to 0-4. There was never any doubt about the outcome as ASVEL established a double-digit lead in the first quarter and then steadily increased it with a combination of slick offense and disciplined defense. Justin Harper made 5 of 5 three-point attempts en route to his game-high total of 19 points and there was an outstanding all-around contribution from David Lighty with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. ASVEL shot 13-of-22 (59.1%) from downtown and dished 24 assists, its highest EuroCup tally for more than four years.