Regular Season, Round 7: Zenit, Galatasaray claim Last 32 passes!
Round 7 of the Eurocup Regular Season featured seven road winners, including all three games in Group C. Two of them, Zenit St. Petersburg and Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul, also claimed their passes for the Last 32, while many other teams came very close. Nearly a third of the games were decided by a single shot and there is still much to play for in the coming three rounds.
Two teams made significant steps towards securing their place in the Last 32 by improving their respective records to 5-2 on Wednesday. Dominion Bilbao Basket beat Telekom Baskets Bonn 95-80 for it first home win of the season. Bilbao pulled away to a double-digit margin in the second quarter,and never looked back as Bonn did not get closer than 8 at any point of the second half. Clevin Hannah paced the hosts with 23 points, and Alex Ruoff scored 15 in victory. Dolomiti Energia Trento topped EWE Baskets Oldenburg 80-93 on the road as Davide Pascolo led the winners with 17 points, while Filippo Baldi Rossi collected 15 points and 11 rebounds in less than 20 minutes. Trento held 5-point lead at halftime, before a 2-15 third quarter run broke the game open. Union Olimpija Ljubljana defeated JSF Nanterre 78-65 Tuesday at Arena Stozice in the Slovenian capital. The result left the two teams tied with 3-4 records and having split the season series evenly; Nanterre won their Round 2 game by 13 points, too. Nanterre took charge early as Mykal Riley scored 15 first-quarter points, however Olimpija dominated the rest of the way, outscoring the visitors by 11, 8 and 7 in each successive quarter. Miha Lapornik led the winners with 16 points and 7 rebounds.
In an overtime thriller MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg edged Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 92-89 on Tuesday at MHP Arena. Brad Newley’s three on the buzzer completed a late Gran Canaria comeback to tie it at 81-81 after 40 minutes, but a 7-0 run in the extra session put the hosts in position to win. The victory left the two teams even with 5-2 records, though Gran Canaria remains ahead of Ludwigsburg on a tiebreaker thanks to its 20-point victory when they met in Round 2. Tekele Cotton paced the winners with 20 points and Mustafa Shakur added 19 points and 5 assists. Kevin Pangos carried Gran Canaria with 31 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and 10 free throws without a miss plus 6 assists. In another thriller on Wednesday, Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia overcame ALBA Berlin 74-71. Both teams now hold 4-3 records and a share of third place. ALBA spent most of the night with the lead, but Reggio Emelia kept coming back and used a late 7-0 run to snatch victory. Pietro Aradori paced the hosts with 22 points. Snapping its four-game losing streak and improving to 2-5 record, Le Mans Sarthe beat Enel Basket Brindisi 66-45 using its defense and a two big fourth quarter runs. Le Mans opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 push, then scored 15 more unanswered points in an all-together 30-3 charge. Mouphtaou Yarou amassed 16 points plus 15 rebounds in victory.
Road teams scored all three Group C victories in Round 7. Umana Reyer Venice downed SLUC Nancy 62-71 for its first road win. The visitors held a double-digit lead in the first half, but Nancy came back to take the lead in the third quarter. However, back-to-back triples by Jeff Viggiano and another one by Michele Ruzzie broke the game open in the fourth, as Venice went on to make club history. Mike Bramos and Benjamin Ortner led the winners with 12 points apiece. Proximus Spirou Charleroi edged ratiopharm Ulm 76-77 for its second straight victory and first road win of the season. The result improved Spirou to 2-5 record, and dropped Ulm to 3-4. Ulm, however, kept the potential tiebreaker between them because it won their Round 2 clash in Belgium by 6 points. Billy Baron enjoyed a monster night for the winners with 31 points and 6 assists. Augustine Rubit shined in defeat with 28 points and 11 rebounds for Ulm. On Tuesday, Undefeated Valencia Basket beat CAI Zaragoza 76-84 on the road Tuesday. Valencia, which had already clinched a Last 32 berth, became the first team in the Eurocup this season to seven wins and is closing in on clinching first place in Group C. Valencia led most of the game, but CAI rallied early in the fourth quarter to get to within 4. Valencia responded with 11 unanswered points- 7 of which came from Justin Hamilton, to lock the game up. Hamilton starred with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
In a classic Eurocup clash, Unics Kazan beat Banvit Bandirma 78-69 to improve to 5-2 atop the group and take a big step towards a place in the Last 32. Unics swept the regular season series against Banvit and now holds an all-time 6-0 record after using a 12-0 run to open a 29-15 first quarter lead, which it never relinquished. Banvit got within 7 in the third quarter and cut it to 70-63 late in the fourth, but Unics avoided drama as Quino Colom collected 23 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while Art Parakhouski added 11 with 9 boards in victory. In a battle of newcomers, Trabzonspor Medical Park routed Steaua CSM EximBank Bucharest 82-67 to take its record to 4-3 and a share of second place. Trabozonspor broke the game wide open in the second quarter, pulling away to lead 31-12. Andrija Stipanovic led the winners with 16 points. Jumping to 20-1 lead to start the game paved way for Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to spank Aris Thessaloniki 75-56. The win keeps the Montenegrin champion in the race to reach the Eurocup Last 32. Suad Sehovic led Buducnost with 17 points and 8 rebounds.
Zenit St. Petersburg beat PAOK Thessaloniki 70-89 on the road to punch its Last 32 pass. Zenit overcome an early double-digit deficit and improved to 6-1. PAOK led by 14 points in the first quarter, but the visitors used a big second quarter to turn it into 44-50 halftime lead, before pulling away for good with 2-12 run that bridged third and fourth quarters. Ryan Toolson finished with 29 points on 7-for-12 three-point shooting and Zabian Dowdell had 15 points in victory. In a high-profile clash at Kristall Arena, Avtodor Saratov downed Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul 93-83, improving to 5-2 record and coming on the verge of securing a Last 32 berth. The game was close until the midway point of the last quarter, when Avtodor took a more comfortable margin, 79-69, and managed it the rest of the way. Paul Stoll starred with 21 points and 7 assists for the winners and Jeff Brooks added 20 points on 8-of-9 two-point shooting. Szolnoki Olaj held off Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 98-99 to climb into a tie for third place with Besiktas at 3-4 record. The visitors scored the first 10 points of the game and led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter. In a bizzare ending, Nicolas Laprovittola keyed a late run and hit a shot to to get the hosts within 1 but the visitors managed to run out time as Rytas players thought the game was tied. Strahinja Milosevic paced Szolnoki with 22 points, while David Vojvoda shot 5 for 6 from downtown in scoring 20 points. Laprovittola finished with 26 points and 7 assists for Rytas which dropped Rytas to 2-5, although its 24-point victory over Szolnoki in Round 2 leaves the potential head-to-head tiebreaker with Rytas.
The group’s first Last 32 ticket was claimed when Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul defeated AEK Athens 73-86 in the Greek capital. Galatasaray improved to 6-1 and is closing in on clinching first place; it now has a two-victory lead over the next two teams, AEK and Neptunas Klaipeda, at 4-3. The visitors never trailed after taking an initial 0-9 lead, although AEK did rally to within 2 in the third quarter. A 10-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters restored a comfortable advantage as Galatasaray marched to victory. Errick McCollum paced the winners with 24 points, including 9 free throws without a miss. Nizhny Novogord beat Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd 82-74 and claimed a two-win margin over fifth place Jerusalem. It looked like Nizhny Novgorod broke the balance early in the third quarter when it took a 50-32 lead, but an outstanding run by the visitors put them in front 52-58. The game remained very close till the final minutes, when Kaspars Berzins tied at 61-61 and then scored a pair of three pointers to make the difference. Berzins finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds plus 5 blocks. On Tuesday, Neptunas Klaipeda scored an 87-85 victory over Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem at Svyturio Arena. The visitors stormed back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to make a game of it late, but Josh Duncan’s tip that would have tied it was ruled to be after the final buzzer and Neptunas walked away with a victory that lifted it to 4-3. Daniel Ewing paced Neptunas with 20 points, while Harvey Grant added 15.
Follow all the fun of Regular Season Round 7 on Eurosport and Eurocupbasketball.com!