Top 16 places sealed as Laboral beats Kuban, Euroleague round up

The final night of Euroleague regular season action saw the final Top 16 spots secured as Laboral Kutxa defeated Lokomotiv Kuban in Group D 84-71 to nab one of them.

A 27-13 fourth quarter turned the game in the Liga Endesa side’s corner as they came from behind to qualify for the next round. Kuban had already qualified before this game.

“We finished the first phase of the Euroleague in second place in our group, which I think is a great achievement,” Laboral Kutxa coach Sergio Scariolo said. “We must feel pretty happy about that, especially looking at all the problems we had to overcome and the high quality of all the team we left behind. We were able to beat the group leader twice and I think this reward is a well-deserved one.

“Tonight we beat a very strong team, very talented and very strong physically. The change between our defensive performance and our ball circulation in the first and the second half made the difference tonight. It allowed us to reduce the margin first, get the lead later, and escape in the end.”

Milko Bjelica led the winners with 15 points while Marcus Williams had a game-high 19 for Lokomotiv Kuban.

The other game in Group D saw Red Star Belgrade say goodbye to the Euroleague with a comfortable 99-75 win at Lietuvos Rytas.

Boban Marjanovic was outstanding with 25 points, off 11/13 shooting to lead Red Star. He also pulled down 11 rebounds. Milt Palacios had 26 points in 27 minutes to lead the Lithuanians.

Both sides will now enter the Eurocup Round of 32.

Group C was finalised with Bayern Munich’s final game against Galatasaray a question of playing it out.

Munich sent the home fans happy though after an 88-68 win at the Audi Dome, snapped their five-game losing streak.

“We were very motivated that we show our strengths heading into the Top 16,” Munich coach Svetislav Pesic said. “We can be very proud at the end of the regular season that we had a positive result against all the teams in our group, except for Olympiacos. That was a tough game to play as Galatasaray provided tough matchups for us, especially in the first half. Their players are very talented. But our players wanted to win, and they fought till the end.”

Strasbourg ended their Euroleague campaign with a 76-67 win at home to EA7 Milano as Tim Abromaitis’ 23 points was enough for the win. The French side will play the rest of the European season in the Eurocup.