Game Center, Top 16 Round 3: Five road winners shake things up
Round 3 of the 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 started with three Tuesday contests from which a pair of competition newcomers claimed important road wins. MoraBanc Andorra left St. Petersburg after becoming the first team to three wins in the Top 16, while AS Monaco's victory over Partizan NIS Belgrade was the first road win in Group E. A day later, ALBA Berlin left Vilnius with an overtime victory, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne remained undefeated after winning in Frankfurt and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar captured a win at Ulm. Valencia Basket joined ASVEL and MoraBanc at 3-0 with a home win.
AS Monaco captured the first road win in Group E by holding off Partizan NIS Belgrade 68-72 on Tuesday evening at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall in the Serbian capital. Monaco led by as many as 21 before a late Partizan rally, but held on thanks to some clutch shots from Derek Needham to improve to 2-1. Partizan slipped to 1-2. Jarrod Jones paced the winners with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Eric Buckner posted 11 points on near-perfect shooting, 7 boards and 2 blocks for the winners. Aleksej Nikolic led Partizan with 16 points and 5 assists. ALBA Berlin followed suit on Wednesday with an 86-94 overtime win on the road at Rytas Vilnius. Niels Giffey forced overtime with a jumper just 3.6 seconds before the end of regulation before Stefan Peno and Rokas Giedraitis took over in the extra session to send ALBA to a victory that improved it to 2-1, while dropping Rytas to 1-2. Giedraitis finished as ALBA's top scorer with 23 points against his former team and Luke Sikma collected 19 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in victory. Artsiom Parakhouski amassed 16 points and 10 rebounds for Rytas.
LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne maintained its perfect record in the Top 16 with a 58-70 road victory at winless Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt. Defense did the job for the French side, which restricted Skyliners to no more than 17 points in each quarter and forced a total of 17 turnovers. ASVEL's top scorer was Theo Maledon with 15 points, all in the first half, while Mantas Kalnietis combined 13 points with 4 assists. Skyliners was paced by 17 points from Jonas Wohlfarth-Botterman. In a direct battle for second place in the group, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar climbed to 2-1 by downing ratiopharm Ulm 81-84 on the road. Lokomotiv is second at 2-1 and Ulm third at 1-2. Vitaly Fridzon led the winners with a career-high 24 points and Dorell Wright and Trevor Lacey each had 14 for Lokomotiv. David Kraemer led Ulm with 17 points.
Valencia Basket extended its winning streak to seven games and remained perfect in the Top 16 with a 92-76 win over visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Wednesday night. Valencia is now 3-0 and in first place in Group G and can qualify for the EuroCup Quarterfinals already next week, while Zvezda dropped into third place with a 1-2 record. Bojan Dubljevic, who became the all-time leader in offensive rebounds in this game, paced Valencia with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Joe Ragland netted 21 points in defeat. Unicaja Malaga secured an important home victory by fending off Limoges CSP 79-72 on Tuesday at Palacio De Deportes Jose Maria Martin Carpena. Adam Waczynski paced four Unicaja scorers in double figures with 16 points as the team improved to 2-1. Unicaja dominated the glass 39-27 to help overcome 1its 18 turnovers committed. Limoges, which got 13 points from Dwight Hardy, dropped to 0-3.〈
MoraBanc Andorra picked up a critical road victory in its quest to reach the 7DAYS EuroCup elimination rounds by knocking off Zenit St. Petersburg 71-80 to remain undefeated in the Top 16. Dylan Ennis scored 19 points on 4 three-pointers while John Shurna nailed 5 threes for 17 points to go with 7 rebounds as MoraBanc improved to 3-0 in Group H. Zenit, which was playing without leading scorer Sergey Karasev, dropped to 1-2 despite 17 points from Vladislav Trushkin. On Wednesday, UNICS Kazan grabbed its second consecutive home win by overwhelming Cedevita Zagreb 105-70. UNICS improved to 2-1 in the standings and second in the group. Cedevita is fourth at 0-3. Jamar Smith led the winners with 19 points and a career-high 10 assists for his first-ever EuroCup double-double and Raymar Morgan returned from injury to score 14 points. Andrija Stipanovic led Cedevita with 16 points.