Game Center: UNICS, Unicaja and Partizan join quarterfinals fray
The floodgates to the quarterfinals opened in earnest on Wednesday when UNICS Kazan, Partizan NIS Belgrade and Unicaja Malaga clinched their spots in the next stage, joining Tofas Bursa which was sent through the night before. Nine teams will vie for the remaining four tickets to the next stage in Top 16 Round 6. Only Group H is locked up with Unicaja having clinched the top spot and Tofas secured in second. Partizan took the first in Group E. No team has advanced from Group F.
Partizan NIS Belgrade fought back from a 15-point deficit to defeat Segafredo Virtus Bologna 82-84 and book its spot in the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals. Corey Walden poured in 29 points for Partizan, which improved to 4-1 and locked up first place in Group E after beating Virtus for the second time and handing it its first home loss in the competition. Milos Teodosic collected 24 points, 5 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss. Virtus dropped to 3-2 in the group. Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul dominated Dolomiti Energia Trento 74-95 on Tuesday night at BLM Group Arena to remain in control of its Top 16 destiny. The visitors rewrote the club record book in improving to 3-2. A win in Round 6 at home against Virtus would clinch the team a quarterfinals berth. Jarrod Jones set a club record and a EuroCup season-high with 17 rebounds to go along with 12 points to lead six Darussafaka scorers in double figures. James Blackmon paced already-eliminated Trento with 22 points. The loss sent Trento's record to 0-5 in the Top 16.
Promitheas Patras kept control of its playoff destiny with a 67-56 victory over Germani Brescia Leonessa on Wednesday at Dimitris Tofalos Arena. The result not only gave Promitheas a 3-2 record and sent Brescia down to 2-3, but it gave the home team the head-to-head tiebreaker between them. Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the winners with 15 points and 7 rebounds. The home team used defense to get the job done, holding Brescia to 18-of-44 two-point shooting (40.9%) and 4-of-20 from downtown (20%). Tommaso Laquintana paced Brescia with a career-high 16 points. Facing a must-win situation to avoid elimination, Umana Reyer Venice led from start to finish and took control of its quarterfinals destiny with a hard-fought 82-78 win over visiting EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Reyer improved to 3-2, while Oldenburg dropped to 2-3 but it did win the head-to-head tiebreaker since it beat Reyer by 11 points in Round 1. Jeremy Chappell paced the winners with 16 points. Oldenburg's Rasid Mahalbasic was at moments unstoppable, carrying his team with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in defeat.
UNICS Kazan protected its home-court with a hard-fought 82-69 win over Rytas Vilnius on Wednesday night and got the help it needed to clinch a place in the quarterfinals. UNICS improved to 3-2 and then qualified for the quarterfinals when AS Monaco defeated Galatasaray Doga Sigorta Istanbul a little bit later. Rytas dropped to 2-3 and was eliminated by Monaco's win. UNICS led for almost the entire game, but Rytas kept it close until late in the fourth quarter when Alex Tyus sparked a final push by the hosts, before Jamar Smith and Errick McCollum iced the game. Smith netted 24 points on 6-for-7 three-point shooting and McCollum finished with 12 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. McCollum took his career tally to 1,205 points in the EuroCup, which is third-best in competition history. Cameron Bairstow and Pako Cruz scored 14 points apiece in a losing effort. Monaco left Sinan Erden Dome with a valuable 79-91 win over host Galatasaray on Wednesday night. The visitors could have secured a ticket for the next stage, but a three-pointer by Can Korkmaz with 2 seconds remaining allowed the hosts to save the tie-breaker to stay alive in the group. AS Monaco was led by Jaleel O’Brien, who scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the line and drew 7 fouls for a performance index rating of 24. Alex Poythress posted 19 points and 7 rebounds for Galatasaray.
Unicaja Malaga secured first place in Group H and the home-court advantage for the EuroCup Quarterfinals by downing already-qualified Tofas Bursa 76-68 at Palacio de Deportes Martin Carpena on Wednesday night. The hosts needed a win to qualify and to do it by more than 2 points to finish first and they were able to accomplish both goals. Josh Adams led the winners with 14 points. Tarik Phillip contributed 17 points for Tofas. On Tuesday, MoraBanc Andorra gained its first win of the Top 16 in dramatic fashion by downing Joventut Badalona 90-89 at the death. That result sent Tofas into the quarterfinals without even playing. Clevin Hannah netted from deep with 2.6 seconds to give Andorra the victory. Klemen Prepelic led the visiting team with 22 points, but missed 2 crucial late free throws.