Home EuroLeague Zoran Planinic’s prayers answered, Euroleague Top 16 round up

Zoran Planinic’s prayers answered, Euroleague Top 16 round up

Zoran Planinic drilled a full court hail mary to give Anadolu Efes an unforgettable 61-60 win over EA7 Milano in Istanbul and hand them their first win in Group E of the Euroleague Top 16.

The loss drops Milan to 2-2 in the group as they led for the majority of the contest and will feel hard done by with the nature of the loss. Keith Langford split his free throws with 3.2 seconds left; Planinic got the defensive rebound turned and threw the ball up court. After a gasp of air, the ball dropped straight in off the glass to be met with wild celebrations.

“It’s not a strange thing for me to make this kind of shot,” Planinic said. “I also did it before in my career. When I had the rebound I only thought about shooting the ball to the basket soon. I turned around and threw the ball. Thank God it went in. I’m happy to help my team to win. I hope this shot changes things both for me and for Efes.”

Apart from that, it was quite scoring night for the Croatian, as he scored 8 points.  Dusko Savanovic led the scoring for Anadolu with 13 points.

“They really competed at a top level,” said Anadolu coach Evangelos Angelou. “Some people can say that it’s luck for the Planinic shot. But even if we lost the game I would have said the same thing, that we are successful. We were great in defence. Now we have a long way until the end of Top 16. We have to forget about this win soon and look forward.”

Langford led all scorers in vain for Milano with 18 points.

The other Group E game saw Olympiacos get back to winning ways with an 89-70 win away at Laboral Kutxa.

Matthew Lojeski led the reigning Euroleague champions with 17 points as they got back to winning ways following two straight losses to go 2-2.

“I think that in the first five minutes, we dug a little hole. We tried to focus on our transition game, start playing defence, run the court and play more up-tempo basketball,” Lojeski said.

“They got guys confident, we made a lot of shots and we built a very comfortable lead. I didn’t expect this game from them: we expected a really tough game, as you are coming to Spain to play against a big team. So we were a little bit surprised for being able to get such a big lead. They couldn’t come back. We knew good things were going to come for us.”

Thomas Heurtel and David Jelinek led Laboral with 12 points each.

The lone Group F game saw Lokomotiv Kuban score an 80-75 home win over Zalgiris.

Krunoslav Simon was unstoppable as he posted 21 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds for Kuban as they notched there second win of the Top 16 while the Lithuanians from Kaunas still await their first win.

“We deserved this win for playing with all our heart today,” Kuban coach Evgeny Pashutin said. “Our team in the second half is the team we want to be.

“In the first half there were mistakes on defence to work on, but most importantly we’ve shown our character on our home court. Everyone who played was coming out to fight. That’s another close win for us, but this is the Top 16 we dreamed about; it’s hard but we are a passionate team and will do our best to reach the playoffs. “

Robertas Javtokas, who hit 16 points, led Zalgiris, as they played a chunk of the game without Justin Dentmon.

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