Romain Sato - Valencia Basket
The first leg of the Eurocup Eighthfinals saw two road winners get a leg up on the competition with road wins. Both teams, Unics Kazan and Alba Berlin, scored the identical amount of points, 91, which was also the most points scored all week. Half of the eight Game 1s were decided by 6 points or fewer, which adds to the already promising return legs to be held next week in six countries. Five former competition champions and another finalist will make sure that the race to the quarterfinals will feature great basketball.
In a game that was moved to Kaunas, Lithuania due to the instability in Ukraine, Budivelnik Kiev held off JSF Nanterre 86-82
to win the Game 1. The second leg will be played next week in Paris, France, and a victory or a loss by up to 3 points will be enough for Budivelnik to advance. Darjus Lavrinovic scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half, as Budivelnik led by up to 64-50, and though Nanterre rallied behind its three-point shooting, never relinquished the advantage. Blake Ahearn added 14 points and Michailis Anisimov 12 in victory while DaShuan Thomas led Nanterre with 21.
EIGHTHFINALS B: Khimik Yuzhne edged Aykon TED Ankara 75-71
at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul. The game was played on a neutral court due to the political turmoil ongoing in Ukraine. Khimik escaped from a 10-point first-quarter deficit and held strong after Akara came back from 7 down in the fourth quarter to tie it with two minutes remaining. Romeo Travis came through the game’s final two scores to give Khimik a narrow win going into the decisive leg in Ankara. Travis paced Khimki with 19 points and 9 rebounds.
In a rematch of the 2012 title game, Valencia Basket downed Khimki Moscow Region 75-59
at home in Game 1 of their two-leg eighthfinals series. Valencia took a 16-point lead in the series and stopped Khimki's record-breaking Eurocup winning streak at 15 games. Oliver Lafayette led five Valencia scorers in double figures with 16 points. Valencia outrebounded Khimki 13-3 in the opening 10 minutes and hit 4 of 5 three-pointers in taking a 28-12 lead and controlled the action the rest of the way.
Chris Lofton hit 6 triples and netted 28 points, leading Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul past Nizhny Novgorod 88-71
in Game 1. The second and last leg will be played next week in Novgorod, Russia. Nizhny had seemed well in control tuesday, holding a 40-47 lead midway through the third quarter, but Lofton and Ryan Broekhoff sparked Besiktas to score 48 points in the time remaining time and build a 22-point lead late in the game. Doron Perkins added 12 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists for the winners. Taylor Rochestie had 22 points and 8 assists, Semen Antonov 19 points and 10 rebounds in defeat.
A 15-0 turn-around run over 5 minutes in the fourth quarter boosted Ratiopharm Ulm to a late 89-97 victory over visiting Hapoel Jerusalem
in Game 1. The decisive second showdown is next Wednesday in Jerusalem. Ulm played from behind for three quarters before its defense shut down Jerusalem to seize an 83-76 lead with 2:53 to play. Jerusalem then rallied to take home a closer score to work with. Edgar Sosa led the winners with 19 points, while Philipp Schwethelm added 11 and Will Clyburn 10. Jerusalem's five double-digit scorers were led by Josh Duncan with 22 points.
EIGHTHFINALS F: Alba Berlin escaped from a sold out PalaSerradimigni with an 83-91 victory over Banco di Sardegna Sassari
in Game 1 of their eighthfinals series in Sardinia, Italy. A 2-11 run late in the second quarter fueled by back-to-back dunks from Jonas Wohlfarth and Vojdan Stojanovski gave a 40-47 margin to Berlin. Later 9 consecutive points scored by Reggie Redding and Levon Kendall pushed the visitors to a 66-80 advantage, which the home team was unable to recover from. Leon Radosevic paced the winners with 24 points.
EIGHTHFINALS G: Unics Kazan took a giant step towards the Eurocup Quarterfinals by trouncing CEZ Basketball Nymburk 58-91
in the first leg of their two-game eighthfinals series. Andrew Goudelock dominated with 36 points to tie the franchise Eurocup record. Marko Popovic scored 36 in a regular season game for Unics in November 2009. The visitors outscored Nymburk by more points in each successive quarter, from 5 in the first to 13 in the fourth.
EIGHTHFINALS H: Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade defeated Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 88-82
at Hala Pionir, to take a 6-point margin into the second leg. Led by triples from Tadija Dragicevic and an inside presence from Boban Marjanovic, Zvezda had a double-digit lead twice in the second half, with 72-60 early in the fourth being the largest advantage. But Omar Cook and Renaldas Seibutis rallied the visitors, but Zvezda prevailed to win the Game 1. Marjanovic finished with 21 points to lead the winners.
Follow all the action as it happens live on Eurosport 2, the Eurocup's official twitter account - @Eurocup - and right here on Eurocupbasketball.com!