Le Mans produced a major upset by beating heavy favourites Unics Kazan 86-78 to advance to Friday’s final game.
The French side had the better of the game until the third quarter when Unics stamped their authority on proceedings with Terrell Lyday scoring five quick points in a row to put the Russians ahead. Their cause was not helped however with big man Vladimir Veremeeko picking up his fifth foul towards the end of the third.
From there, Le Mans made a last burst, and, led by Khalid El-Amin they made the game safe thanks to good shot selection and clutch defence.
Joao Poulo Batista led the victors with a masterful 20 points and 10 rebounds with Cuthbert Victor hitting 15 points but it was veteran guard El-Amin that helped the French side when it mattered. He scored 12 points and dished out four assists.
Kostas Kaimakoglou led Unics with 20 points as they will now play in the Eurocup this season.
Cantu beat Nymburk
Mapooro Cantu overcame Czech side CEZ Nymburk 89-83 to set a date with Le Mans on Friday for the final Group A spot in the Euroleague regular season.
Boosted by a loud home following, the Italians started well, but were pegged back in the second quarter as the Czech champions led 44-43 at the half. But Cantu responded and dominated in the third to lead 68-57 going into the fourth quarter and despite a late fightback from Nymburk, it wasn’t enough.
Pietro Aradori was outstanding for the hosts, leading his side with 19 points and four rebounds, helped by Jerry Smith’s 16.
Nymburk, who now seal the penultimate Eurocup spot were led by Mike Taylor and Adrian Adams’ 16 points overall.