Regular Season, Round 1: the 2014-15 Eurocup is here!
The 13th Eurocup season got off with 18 games over two exciting nights. The action featured dominating performances alongside double-overtime thrillers. More than a third of the contests were won by the visiting team. And seven of the games were deciding by a single shot. The most amazing part is that these games were just the first potion; Round 1 leaves plenty of time for more greatness and the teams that came up short to correct and move on. The 2014-15 Eurocup season is here!
All three Group A games went down to the wire and finished within a single-possession margin. Antoine Diot hit a buzzer-beating triple for Strasbourg to down Telekom Baskets Bonn 83-86. Strasbourg rallied from a double-digit third quarter deficit, as Louis Campbell led the winners with 18 points, 5 assists and 5-of-5 shooting from long distance. Jeremy Leloup added 16 points, and Diot finished with 15. Steve Wachalski led all the scorers with 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from downtown. Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia edged Brose Baskets Bamberg 70-67 to make a winning return to the Eurocup. In a game during which neither team a lead bigger than 5 points, the hosts prevailed thanks to three fourth quarter triples from Federico Mussini, and a game-winning basket by Andrea Cinciarini, who finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Mussini scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, while Carlon Brown paced Bamberg with 26 points. CAI Zaragoza held on for 77-76 win over Paris Levallois. The winners hit 11 three-pointers and dished 25 assists, but had to withstand a barrage of seven fourth quarter triples from the visitors to preserve victory. Marcus Landry and Stevan Jelovac each scored 15 points for the hosts.
The season opened a day early in Group B with a pair of games. In the season’s first tip off, ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne bested Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck 64-70 on the road. ASVEL made 4 threes in a row to build a 15-point fourth-quarter lead and then held on when Dragons rallied late. Taurean Green led the ASVEL attack with 15 points and 5 assists and David Andersen amassed 14 points and 10 rebounds to help his team win the battle of the boards 29-43. Then Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas rolled past Cantu 101-81. The hosts pieced together a 14-0 run that bridged halftime to take a 16-point lead and cruised the rest of the way. Kyle Kuric marked his Eurocup debut with 21 points, while Walter Tavares dominated the paint with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. James Feldeine starred for the visitors with 25 points. On Wednesday, JDA Dijon made a winning Eurocup debut, holding off Telenet Ostend 72-63. Dijon took control of the game with a 21-3 spurt that bridged the first and second quarters, opening a 34-20 lead that it never relinquished. Zach Moss finished with 18 points for the winners.
Baloncesto Seville downed EWE Baskets Oldenburg 77-85 on the road, after holding control throughout the game. Alex Urtasun paced the winners with 16 points, while Jacob Pullen added 13. Nemanja Aleksandrov led Oldenburg with 22 points. Virtus Rome overwhelmed Proximus Spirou Charleroi 59-88 behind Brandon Triche, who led the way with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Kyle Gibson added 16 points for Rome, which built a 36-70 lead by the third quarter, and cruised to victory. SLUC Nancy held off CEZ Basketball Nymburk 78-76, and became the only home team to get a winning start in Group C, behind Darius Adams who finished with 22 points and 5 assists. Adams also hit a key basket in the final minutes before Nancy sealed it from the foul line. Florent Pietrus posted 16 points plus 7 rebounds, and Randal Falker had 15 points and 7 rebounds for Nancy.
Szolnok Olaj edged Zenit St. Petersburg 96-94 to score its first-ever Eurocup victory in its debut in the competition. Lazeric Jones completed an excellent performance with 23 points and 7 assists; his three-pointer gave the hosts the lead for good at 94-92. The home team scored 33 points in the final ten minutes to celebrate their first appearance in the competition. David Vojvoda paced the winners with 25 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting as the hosts made 14 of their 31 threes. Khimki Moscow Region opened its season in style with a 94-65 rout of visiting VEF Riga. VEF led early, but back-to-back-to-back threes by Joffrey Lauvergne, Marko Popovic and Petteri Koponen put Khimki ahead by 12 and Paul Davis added a few more buckets late in the second quarter to give Khimki a 47-28 halftime lead. A 12-0 run to open the third quarter ended any doubts to the outcome. Tyrese Rice paved the way with 16 points, 5 assists and 3 steals. Union Olimpija Ljubljana held off a wild fourth-quarter rally to edge Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul 68-70 on the road. Olimpija had an 18-point lead with over eight minutes remaining, but managed to escape with a win behind 13 points each from Halil Kanacevic and Sasu Salin.
CSU Asesoft Ploiesti held off a late charge from Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd to start the Eurocup season with a 75-81 road win. CSU Asesoft led for most of the first half before D.J. Kennedy led an Oktyabr comeback that had the hosts within 70-72, but Dee Brown stepped up to assist or score on three straight Asesoft possessions as the visitors walked away with a memorable win. Marius Runkauskas led the visitors with 15 points, while Brown tallied 14 points and 6 assists. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius thrashed Partizan NIS Belgrade 92-65 in the Lithuanian capital. Two-time Eurocup champion Mindaugas Lukauskis and Travis Leslie paced the winners with 18 points each. Leslie added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Rytas never trailed, getting a 30-21 margin after 10 minutes and using an outstanding team effort to extend it to 47-29 at halftime. In a great showdown that went down to the final seconds, Banvit Bandirma rallied from a double-digit deficit to defeat Hapoel Jerusalem 80-76. Sammy Mejia led the winners with 17 points and Vladimir Dragicevic added 16. The visitors led by double figures in the first half, but Banvit rallied back for an important win.
PAOK Thessaloniki escaped from Izmir with an 81-87 double overtime win over host Pinar Karsiyaka. With the game tied 77-77 in the second extra session, a 0-5 spurt gave PAOK the cushion it needed to hold on for an impressive victory in its Eurocup season-opener. Jake Odum led the winners with 22 points. Juan Palacios led all scorers with 29 points and 10 rebounds in defeat. In its first Eurocup game since the 2009-10 season, Ventspils had a strong start by downing Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 82-75 at home. Former Eurocup winner Mire Chatman paced the winners with 19 points. 2013 Eurocup winner Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar returned to the competition with an impressive start by beating Stelmet Zielona Gora 78-97 on the road. A 0-14 run midway through the first quarter gave the guests a 10-28 margin and they never looked back. Derrick Brown led the winners with 23 points on 9-of-11 two-point shooting, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.