7DAYS EuroCup Top 16, Round 1: Off to a fast start
After a thrilling regular season, the 2017-18 7DAYS EuroCup resumed with the Top 16 and it started perfectly for the home teams with all three Tuesday contests being won convincingly by the hosts. Wednesday saw Lokomotiv remain undefeated on the season and was joined by Darussafaka and Zenit as the first road winners of the Top 16. The offenses were clicking in Round 1 as the winner of all but one game scored at least 80 points and four teams were in the 90s!
Herbalife Gran Canaria reasserted its home-court dominance with a 100-81 pounding of ALBA Berlin in the teams’ Group E opener on Tuesday at Gran Canaria Arena. The hosts showed no sentiments for former Coach Aito Garcia Reneses’s squad in scoring a 100 for the first time all season. Gran Canaria outshot ALBA from every range, with Marcus Eriksson’s perfect shooting on 4 three-point attempts highlight an 11-for-20 shooting effort from downtown (55%). Gal Mekel led the winners with 19 points plus 6 assists. Despite playing without 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season MVP Scottie Wilbekin, Darussafaka Istanbul dominated Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 65-84 on Wednesday at Sinan Erdem Dome. Darussafaka outrebounded the home team 27-47 as JaJuan Johnson, Howard Sant-Roos and Michael Eric all posted double-doubles. Johnson scored a career-high 28 points to go with 12 boards and 3 blocked shots and Sant-Roos set personal bests with 15 points and 10 rebounds in addition to 5 assists.
Fiat Turin sent a message to the rest of Group F by opening the Top 16 with a resounding 90-76 rout of FC Bayern Munich on Tuesday at PalaRuffini. Diante Garrett starred with 21 points, 8 assists and a club record 6 steals to pace Fiat, which played without leading rebounder Trevor Mbakwe. Despite getting outrebounded 28-37, Fiat made 28- of 38 two-point shots and its 73.7% success rate was the highest by any team all season. The hosts also forced Bayern into 18 turnovers. On Wednesday, Zenit St. Petersburg earned a valuable 96-98 road win over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. The visitors took control with a 6-24 second-quarter run and led by as many as 11 in the fourth, but Travis Peterson rallied Rytas. The game went down to the wire, but Zenit scored free throws and made a pair of defensive plays in the final minute to pull out a valuable road win. Kyle Kuric netted career-best 30 points on 5-for-7 three-point shooting, and Drew Gordon collected 23 points and 8 rebounds against his former team in victory. Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the hosts with 22 points and Peterson finished with 19.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar remained undefeated in the EuroCup by rallying to beat Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 62-68 in the Montenegrin capital on Wednesday. Ryan Broekhoff led the winners with 15 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting plus 10 rebounds. Nikola Ivanovic, Nemanja Gordic and Kyle Landry led an 18-3 run that gave Buducnost a double-digit margin, 37-24, at halftime. Mardy Collins, Trevor Lacey and Dmitry Kulagin shined in the third quarter as Lokomotiv rallied to regain the lead, 46-50. Zoran Nikolic brought Buducnost within 59-61, but Kulagin struck from downtown and Collins added a big basket to seal the outcome. Behind a huge night from Dustin Hogue, Dolomiti Energia Trento rallied from 18 points down to beat visiting Cedevita Zagreb 83-72. Despite playing without its leading scorer Dominique Sutton, Trento overcame a slow start and used two big runs – 11-0 at the end of first and start of the second half and 18-2 to bridge the third and fourth quarters – to turn a 20-38 deficit into a 71-64 lead. Dustin Hogue carried the team with 27 points on 13-for-16 two-point shooting plus 10 rebounds, while Jorge Gutierrez scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and dished 9 assists.
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia put together a tough defensive showing in starting its Top 16 campaign with a convincing 87-54 victory at home over Limoges CSP on Tuesday. Amedeo Della Valle led the way for Reggio Emilia with 22 points, a career-high 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals for a career-high performance index ranking of 38. In a thriller that needed overtime to determine a winner, UNICS Kazan defeated ASVEL Villeurbanne 88-84 at home on Wednesday. Quino Colom and Stephane Lasme led the winners with 15 points apiece, while regular season Round 10 MVP John Roberson led ASVEL with 20 points - 18 of them in the fourth quarter and overtime. He gave ASVEL its last lead, 76-77, late in regulation but a free throw by Melvin Ejim sent the game to overtime. Roberson scored of all his team's points in overtime, including a three-pointer that tied it at 84-84. A jumper by Jamar Smith and free throws by Anton Ponkrashov ensured UNICS celebrated at the buzzer.