Unicaja Malaga came from behind to defeat Brose Baskets 85-82, as the Euroleague’s Top 16 phase got under way tonight.
Marcus Williams led the Liga Endesa side with 18 points with new boy Andy Panko adding 16. Bamberg were led by Sharrod Ford with 16 points on 4/6 three-point shooting as they began the game with a 15-0 burst before letting Malaga into contention gradually. The hosts took their first lead of the game late in the fourth quarter at 76-74 and despite some last ditch pressure from the German side, Malaga held on for an important victory.
“It was a tough game, just as we expected it, against a great team that had never lost in Malaga,” Unicaja coach Jasmin Repesa said afterwards.
“This is the Euroleague and we must be focused to beat the best teams in Europe. We shot a lot in the beginning and were surprised by Ford’s effectiveness, even though we knew Bamberg has great shooters. We improved in the second half, especially on offensive rebounds, which was important to win the game.”
BC Khimki braved the hostile atmosphere inside the Abdi Ipecki in Istanbul to grab a vital 80-75 away win over Besiktas.
The Russians didn’t have it their own way to start, as the transition game of the Eurochallenge holders and the lowest scorers in the Euroleague surprised Khimki as they trailed 20-14 after one. But it was smooth sailing from the second period onwards as the Eurocup winners came away with the win through solid team play and smart shot selection.
Vitaly Fridzon led Khimki with 20 points, including four three-pointers. Patrick Christopher equaled Fridzon’s tally for the Turkish side.
Montepaschi Siena got a surprise 79-69 victory over Maccabi Electra in Italy as the Italian champions’ great, yet unexpected run in the Euroleague continues.
Tomas Ress led Siena with 18 points supported by 16 from Bobby Brown.
“We stayed concentrated for 40 minutes. Congratulations to my team. I have great teammates. This is only the beginning. We have a lot more games,” Ress commented.
Shawn James led the Israeli champions with 18 points.
Behind a career-high 25 points for Maciej Lampe, Caja Laboral tipped-off their Top 16 campaign with a win while collecting their fourth straight win overall in the Euroleague with an 82-74 win over Olympiacos.
Vassilis Spanoulis led the Euroleague holders with 18 points.
Real Madrid got a 77-63 road win over Alba Berlin as the German side’s faint hopes of a comeback in the fourth quarter were dashed as the Spanish side restricted the hosts to nine points in the final ten minutes.
Sergio Llull led Madrid with 15 points while Alba Berlin were led by 14 from Albert Miralles.