Pedro Llompart - CAI Zaragoza
Ian Vougioukas - Unics Kazan
Congratulations to Besiktas Integral Forex, Maccabi Haifa Bazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Union Olimpija and Telenet Ostend! Those five teams used Regular Season Round 8 to crash the Last 32 party. Meanwhile Unics Kazan used a resounding win to clinch first place in its group. While those teams all have reasons to celebrate, there remains a lot of drama in the eight groups with 15 spots still up for grabs. In Groups B and D, not team has qualified yet, while in three others, there is a tie for third place! That sets up an exciting finish in the two weeks to come.
Three really close games that went to the wire offered plenty of action and drama in Group A. Taking a crucial step forwards towards reaching the Last 32, Telenet Ostend edged previously undefeated FoxTown Cantu 77-75
at home. Ostend improved to 6-2 and will qualify with another win or if either CEZ Basketball Nymburk or Le Mans Sarthe Basket lose one game. Jared Berggren paced the winners with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. Dusan Djorjevic scored the go-ahead layup with 4 seconds left. Le Mans Sarthe Basket grabbed a pivotal road win by topping CEZ Basketball Nymburk 69-71
in Prague. Both teams now tie for third place in Group A, each with a 4-4 record, but Le Mans has the tie-break advantage (2-0 record). Reyshawn Terry paced the winners with 16 points. Vaughn Duggins added 13 and the game-winning shot. Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck grabbed its second win in Group A by edging Cibona Zagreb 101-96
at home. Quakenbrueck improved to 2-6 and still had slim chances to advance. Brandon Thomas paced the winners with 27 points. Quakenbrueck downed 18 three-pointers in this high-scoring showdown.
Round 8 offered plenty of drama in Group B, but no team has clinched a Last 32 berth, yet. It all started Tuesday, when Travis Diener hit a shot just before the buzzer as Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari edged Elan Chalon sur Saone 80-82
for a key win, improving Sassari to 6-2 and what would prove to be first place in Group B. Sassari hit 11 of its 14 triples in the first two quarters, as Caleb Green paced the winners with 19 points. Already-eliminated Belgacom Spirou Charleroi stunned Bilbao Basket 79-73
for its first win of the season, while sending Bilbao into fourth consecutive loss and a 4-4 record. Demond Mallet led the hosts with 19 points, and Darryl Watkins had 18 points plus 9 rebounds. On Wednesday, EWE Baskets Oldenburg grinded out 64-72
road win over Cedevita Zagreb to bring both teams to 5-3 and a share of second place, but EWE Baskets hold a tie-breaker for winning both head-to-head games. Oldenburg pulled away to 56-65 with four consecutive triples early in the fourth quarter, and never relinquished the lead. Julius Jenkins and Rickey Paulding each scored 12 points in victory.
On Tuesday, already qualified Ratiopharm Ulm downed Paris Levallois 56-48
, leading from start to finish to take another step towards clinching first place in the group. The hosts used an 11-0 run to pull away to 48-34 in the third quarter, and behind its defense never looked back as Will Clyburn collected 10 points plus 8 rebounds. Union Olimpija Ljubljana stunned Valencia Basket 91-93
on Wednesday to punch its ticket to the Last 32. Valencia opened the game with a 22-9 lead, but the visitors rallied and went in front 61-70 late in the third quarter. The game went down to the wire, with Deividas Gailius making 5 of 6 from the foul line in the final 90 seconds, enough for Olimpija's big win. Gailius paced the winners with 24 points. Asvel Villeurbanne Lyon held off Cimberio Varese 83-80
to keep its chances of advancing to the next round alive. The loss mathematically eliminated Varese with two games to play. The hosts took the lead for good late in the third quarter behind baskets from Edwin Jackson. Varese rallied behind triples from Dusan Sakota and Keydren Clark, but Asvel held on. Jackson paced the winners, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter.
Group D: BCM Gravelines crushed already eliminated Belfius Mons Hainaut 53-85
, on Tuesday to take another steps towards a place in the Last 32 on Tuesday. Gravelines took control early on, as Ousmane Camara, John Holland and Juby Johnson all netted 14 points, with Johnson’s coming in less than 11 minutes on 4-of-5 three-point shooting. In a pivotal game, CAI Zaragoza rallied past Telekom Baskets Bonn 71-60
. The hosts trailed by double figures early, but caught up in the second quarter and pulled away with a late 12-0 run to win. Giorgi Shermadini scored 14 and Viktor Sanikidze posted a double-double for Zaragoza, which also claimed the direct head-to-head tiebreaker over Bonn. In a rare Thursday fixture, Alba Berlin (5-2) will reach the Last 32 if it defeats Virtus Rome (2-5) in the German capital. Virtus is in a do-or-die situation - it needs a win to keep its slim chances to go through.
Already qualified Khimki Moscow Region outlasted Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem 85-73
. The win lifted Khimki to 7-1 and further boosted its claim on first place. Paul Davis led the winners with 22 points. Hapoel grabbed a slim lead late in the third quarter, but Khimki reeled off 9 straight points and held on the rest of the way. Lukoil Academic Sofia downed Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir 74-64
, however the margin of victory was enough for Karsiyaka to advance to the next round despite the loss. Karsiyaka won by 15 when the teams met in Round 3. Alando Tucker paced the winners by scoring 18 points with 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Bobby Dixon tallied 20 points for Karsiyaka. And CSU Asesoft Ploiesti defeated Igokea Aleksandrovac 84-74
to remain alive in the race to advance to the next round. Alhaji Mohammed paced the winners with 24 points and Gerald Lee amassed 23 points on 10-of-12- two-point shooting plus 6 rebounds.
The race for the Last 32 remained tight in this group. Nizhny Novgorod advanced first by edging Buducnost Voli Podgorica 89-91
in the Montenegrin capital on Wednesday. Nizhny Novgorod improved to 7-1. Primoz Brezec paced the winners with 21 points. Buducnost led 79-76 in the next-to-last minute, but a three-pointer by Vadim Panin sent the game to overtime at 79-79. There Panin, Brandon Paul and Semen Antonov led Nizhny Novgorod to a historic road win. Khimik Yuzhne took a step forward by beating Alba Fehervar 81-52
on Tuesday. Khimik pulled away to a double-digit lead in the second quarter and never looked back. Matt Gatens hit 5 triples to pace the winners with 17 points, while Rolands Freimanis and Paul Delaney had 14 points apiece for Khimik. Aykon TED Ankara Kolejliler grabbed its third consecutive win by downing PAOK Thessaloniki 84-65
. Clay Tucker paced the winners with 24 points. and Vladimir Golubovic got 12 and 13 rebounds for yet another double-double. PAOK’s DJ Cooper got 15 and 13 assists - tying Dusan Djordjevic of Telenet Ostend and Travis Diener of Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari for the 2013-14 Eurocup season-high.
Eurocup newcomer Maccabi Haifa Bazan edged VEF Riga 74-72
on Ike Ofoegbu’s last second basket to clinch a spot in the Last 32. The visitors stormed back from an 18-point deficit – and down 10 in the fourth quarter – to take the lead late. But with the game tied in the final minute, Riga missed twice from downtown before Haifa got the ball and Ofoegbu made himself the hero by putting Donta Smith’s miss in the basket. The fourth quarter featured eight lead changes! Dagan Yivzori made 4 of 5 threes for Haifa en route to 16 points. Brian Randle also scored 16 for the winners. Earlier Unics Kazan annihilated Kalev Cramo Tallinn 94-44
to remain unbeaten and clinch first place in Group G. Andrew Goudelock led the winners with 18 points and Ian Vougioukas added 17. Banvit Bandirma pulled away to beat MZT Skopje Aerodrom 68-86
. The game was close for the first three quarters and was tied as late as 49-49. However the fourth quarter was all Banvit, which rode E.J. Rowland’s hot hand to a double-digit lead and then added on 12 straight points to put the game away. Chuck Davis led the Banvit attack with 21 points plus 3 blocks, Rowland amassed 20 points, 6 assists and 3 steals.
The first team to reach the Last 32 from this group became Besiktas Integral Forex, which bested Bisons Loimaa 83-74
. Mehmet Yagmur tallied 16 points and 6 assists for the winners, who pulled away midway through the third quarter and held on it the last 10 minutes. Panionios Athens recorded a 78-86 road win over Neptunas Klaipeda
. Marc Carter had an outstanding performance to lead the winners by scoring 29 points on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown in addition to 4 rebounds and 7 assists for an index rating of 35, while Erick McCollum bagged 20 with 5 rebounds and 8 assists with an index rating of 29. Spartak St. Petersburg downed Radnicki Kragujevac 81-68
, but Radnicki was able to keep the important head-to-head tiebreaker against Spartak. Yaroslav Korolev led five Spartak scorers in double figures with 20 points, Donald McGrath added 18 on 4-of-7 three-point shooting plus 7 assists.
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