Red Star Belgrade beat Lietuvos Rytas 88-82 in their first leg encounter of the Eurocup Eighthfinals in the Serbian capital leaving the tie in good shape for the second leg in Vilnius next Wednesday.
Despite the win, Red Star will feel a little upset that they didn’t take advantage of the double-digit lead that they had enjoyed early in the fourth quarter. The Serbian side will feel equally as disappointed that they let their Lithuanian counterparts, led by Renaldas Seibutis back into the game so easily, and now instead of a healthy lead heading to the second leg, Lietuvos Rytas will be relishing next week’s tie as they know that they have a great chance to advance.
2.20m big man Boban Marjanovic led Belgrade with 21 points as his inside presence was too much for Lietuvos Rytas to handle. Seibutis had 17 to lead the visitors.
“We started the game badly and allowed them to play their game,” Red Star coach Dejan Radojic said. “We started playing better after the first quarter, especially in the third quarter. But, we still made some unacceptable mistakes. We lost our big lead because of inexperience, but I am still satisfied with the result even though it could have been better.”
Ratiopharm Ulm defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 89-87 in Germany but will face a difficult task to keep that advantage in the second leg in what will be a hostile environment in the Israeli capital.
Edgar Sosa paced Ulm with 19 points as they turned a 50-43 half-time deficit into a 69-64 lead after three quarters of play. Hapoel fought hard in the final quarter to ensure a two-point deficit for next week.
Josh Duncan had 22 points to lead Jerusalem.
Another tie that is evenly matched is Ukrainian side Khimik Yuzhne’s 75-71 advantage over Aykon Ankara as they head to Turkey’s capital city next week.
The tie itself was played in Istanbul due to the political unrest in the Ukraine so with the second leg also being played in Turkey, the sides could be considered slightly even.
Paul Delaney led Yuzhne with 15 points.
“It was a very tough game,” Delaney said. ”We were not so good in the very beginning, but then we were able to concentrate and play like a team. I’m proud of our team and the fact that we were able to win this tough game not on our court. I want to thank our fans for the support. This win is for our fans and for Ukraine.”
Alba Berlin will head home with a 91-83 lead from their first leg away game against Dimano Sassari.
The German side were relatively comfortable against Dinamo Sassari, who now travel to Berlin’s 02 World Arena to claw back this deficit.
Leon Radosevic led Alba Berlin with 24 points and 6 rebounds as his side are now favourites to advance to the last eight of the tournament.
Billed as the game of the round turned out to be a first leg blowout as Valencia defeated Khimki 75-59 in Spain. The Russian side though will feel reasonably confident and up for the challenge on their court in the Moscow Region.
The Liga Endesa side enjoyed a double-digit advantage for the majority of the contest against a sub-par Khimki squad. Valencia raced out to a 28-12 lead after the first period then held their Russian counterparts to just 8 points in the second quarter to claim the win.
“I think we could have dreamed of a result like this,” Valencia coach Velimir Perasovic commented. “We didn’t even think of beating a team like Khimki by more than 10 points. The key was our start of the game, keeping a good level of focus to stop such a powerful team as they are. This is just the first half of the series and it is not decided at all. We are fully aware that we will have a tough, difficult game in their court.”
Oliver Lafayette led the hosts with 16 points, while James Augustine, Marko Popovic and Mike Green all had 11 for Khimki.
One game that looks to be over is Unics Kazan’s dominant 91-58 thrashing to CEZ Nymburk in the Czech Republic.
Andrew Goudelock exploded for 36 points which included 6 three-pointers, as Unics Kazan look forward to the return leg back home in Russia with one foot in the last eight.