Alba Berlin’s win over Dexia Mons-Hainaut means they will be the only German team to qualify for the Eurocup Last 16 while FC Bayern Munich and the Fraport Skyliners are set for an early exit from the tournament.
Round 5 of Eurocup action wrapped up Tuesday night and with only one game remaining for each side in the tournament’s group stage, Alba Berlin will be the only German side advancing to the Last 16.
Alba won comfortably against Dexia Mons-Hainaut and their 20 point victory effectively eliminated the Belgian side from the tournament. Star guard DaShaun Wood hit his tournament scoring averaging, going for 16 points from 10 attempts. He also contributed nine assists but committed six turnovers.
Alba also got strong performances from two other Americans on the roster, Derrick Allen and Torin Francis. A crowd favorite because of his old man-hustle game, Allen had 15 points on 7-11 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. Francis contributed 16 and six in only 22 minutes of actions. The two big men play a pivotal role for Alba around the basket and will be vital to their chances of advancing in the next round.
For the visitors, Ahmad Nivins out of St. Joseph’s flirted with a double-double game as he collected 19 points and nine rebounds. Dexia’s leading scorer, Nivins is averaging a shade under 15 points per game and has scored in double figures in each outing (his two best games incidentally have come against Alba, 20 and 19 points respectively).
FC Bayern Munich lost in embarrassing fashion, going down 92-66 against Benetton Basket and will not advance further in the tournament. Big man duo Chevon Troutman and Jarred Homan were again solid on the offensive end, combining for 24 points, but were lackadaisical on the glass, combining for only six rebounds. Homan’s one board in 23 minutes was particularly poor considering his massive frame is capable of dominating that aspect of the game.
An injury in Round 3 to star guard Je’Kel Foster has hurt Bayern’s ability to score, but the same reoccurring problems remain for a team capable of so much more. Underwhelming performances from the team’s German national players are common more often than not (big minute players Steffen Hamann, Philipp Schwethlem and Robin Benzing scored a total of 12 points in a combined 71 minutes on action, with Schwethelm not making a single basket) and Coach Dirk Bauermann’s over reliance on the poor play of point guard Hamann has gone well beyond the point of ridiculous. Ben Hansbrough is more than capable of starting at the point and although he is a little green at this stage he has, at least in my eyes, already surpassed the 31-year-old Hamann and gives the team a legit passing and scoring threat, something Hamann can no longer do.
Bayern, also dwindling in their own domestic league, needs to make a change. Something has to give otherwise this expensive roster will continue to underachieve.
Benetton were fantastic and registered six players in double figures with another finishing just short with nine points. Their team play and skill level are exceptionally high even after the recent departure of former NBA champion Brian Scalabrine, who has returned to the States.
Benetton’s best player, Alessandro Gentile, a big bodied swingman with a high skill level and nice athletic ability, was solid in this one as he collected 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Amazingly, the 19-year-old is leading the team in scoring at 15 points per contest and although the Italian side will not be able to over-take Spartak St. Petersburg for the first position in Group G, the team has secured the second seed in the group and will advance to the Round of 16.
The Fraport Skyliners lost a low scoring ordeal (they had a laughable eight point first quarter in front of their home crowd) and remain dead last in Group E without a win. Missing NBA player Jon Leuer, who has returned for his rookie season with the Milwaukee Bucks, and his 12 points per game, the Skyliners could only manage one player in double figures, fellow American Jimmy McKinney who recorded 14 points. The wing player out of the University of Missouri is averaging 12 points a contest in his fourth season in Germany.
Fraport was beaten by Turkish side Banvit BK. The win keeps them in contention for a spot in the Last 16 as they battle against G.Canaria 2014 for the second place in Group E. Banvit received nice performances from a number of players, including 15 points from Cliff Hammonds, 14 points from Chuck Davis and 11 points Kenan Bajramovic.
With Munich and Frankfurt now out of Eurocup contention, fans of German basketball will have to hope their talented Berlin side is good enough to push on further in the tournament. Led by an electrifying guard and a number of solid role players, their chances appear to be good.
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