Game Center, Round 3: Road warriors take the spoils
An action-packed double-round week came to a conclusion with three teams earning valuable road wins on Friday night, including a sensational finish in Moscow where Dogus Balbay sank Khimki with an incredible game-winning triple to give Efes its second away victory of the season. The highest scoring team in Round 3 was Panathinaikos, which put 102 points on the board in Thursday’s home victory against Gran Canaria.
CSKA Moscow 79-75 Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul
CSKA remained undefeated by rallying past Darussafaka 79-75 in the Russian capital on Thursday. CSKA improved to 3-0 in the standings while Darussafaka dropped to 1-2. Cory Higgins led the winners with 14 points and Nikita Kurbanov added 13. Michael Eric posted 15 points and 11 rebounds for Darussafaka. The visitors led by 7 at halftime, but CSKA dominated the third quarter 26-10 to take control of the game.
Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 68-78 Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Led by Scottie Wilbekin, who had the best performance of his EuroLeague career, Maccabi used a huge fourth quarter to register its first win of the season by downing Buducnost 68-78 on the road on Thursday night in the Montenegrin capital. Maccabi improved to 1-2 for the season, while Buducnost remained winless after three games. Maccabi opened the fourth quarter with a 2-20 spurt, and pulled away after trailing for the majority of the first three quarters. Wilbekin finished the game with a career-best 28 points on 6-of-11 three-point shooting along with 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 102-87 Herbalife Gran Canaria
Panathinaikos dominated Gran Canaria 102-87 on Thursday at Olympic Sports Center Athens for its second win in as many home games this season. After a hot start for the visitors, Ioannis Papapetrou came off the bench to lead a 15-2 Panathinaikos charge and the visitors never seriously threatened again. The outcome took the Greens' record to 2-1, while Gran Canaria fell to 1-2. Keith Langford and Lukas Lekavicius led the winners with 16 points apiece. Marcus Eriksson made 5 of 8 three-pointers and was joined by Chris Evans with 15 points to lead Gran Canaria.
FC Barcelona Lassa 83-73 FC Bayern Munich
Barcelona grabbed its first win of the EuroLeague season by downing Bayern 83-73 at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday. Both teams now have 1-2 records. Ante Tomic led the winners with 18 points and Chris Singleton added 15. Maodo Lo paced Bayern with 16 points. Kevin Pangos ignited an early 10-0 run that helped the hosts to a 24-8 start and Barcelona remained in control the rest of the way.
Khimki Moscow Region 84-85 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Dogus Balbay struck a sensational deep three-pointer with two seconds remaining to give Anadolu Efes Istanbul a stunning victory over heartbroken Khimki Moscow Region. After three quarters it looked like Efes was cruising with a 12-point lead, but then an incredible scoring streak from Alexey Shved – with 14 points in less than four minutes – brought Khimki back. The home team led throughout the final few minutes but the visitors had one last chance and Balbay took it with an incredible long-range conversion, giving Efes its second road triumph of the season and leaving Khimki winless. Efes was led by 26 points from Rodrigue Beaubois, nearly half of which came in the second quarter. Adrien Moerman scored 12 and Krunoslav Simon added 11 for the victors. Shved inevitably top scored for Khimki with 25 points including 6 three-pointers, while Anthony Gill added 15 points, Tony Crocker scored 13 and Jordan Mickey netted 12.
Zalgiris Kaunas 75-82 Fenerbahce Istanbul
Fenerbahce Istanbul took its show on the road and stayed perfect by stopping host Zalgiris Kaunas, five months after having done the same in last spring's semifinals. Fenerbahce took its first lead mid-way through the fourth quarter, but was in control thereafter to go 3-0 in the standings. Zalgiris dropped to 1-2. Kostas Sloukas poured in 20 points, Luigi Datome 11 and Jan Vesely 10 for the winners, who outscored their hosts 18-29 in the fourth quarter. Zalgiris got 23 points from Nate Wolters, 14 each from Arturas Milaknis and Brandon Davies. Zalgiris took early command with a fabulous first half performance, establishing a huge 38-22 lead in the second quarter. But Sloukas and a stiffened defense inspired Fenerbahce’s recovery after the break, and Datome hit a triple to send the visiting team ahead. Baskets from Dylan Ennis and Joffrey Lauvergne established a bigger lead, and Zalgiris couldn’t recover.
Olympiacos Piraeus 75-99 AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan picked up a surprise road victory by comfortably knocking off Olympiacos Piraeus 75-99. Mike James paced Milan with 22 points and 5 assists while Nemanja Nedovic had 18 of his 20 points in the second half, Vladimir Micov hit 5 three-pointers in scoring 19 points and Arturas Gudaitis added 11 points. Milan jumped to 2-1 as it turned the ball over just 8 times in the game. Olympiacos dropped to 2-1 on the young season despite Nikola Milutinov collecting a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Georgios Printezis scored 13 points and Vangelis Mantzaris and Sasha Vezenkov both added 12 points in defeat. The first half was closely contested, with six straight lead changes in the second quarter. But Milan took charge after the break as Nedovic scored 7 quick points, before Micov went back-to-back from long range in a 0-10 to seal the win.
Real Madrid 97-79 KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
In an all-Spanish clash to close the round, reigning champ Real Madrid topped KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 97-79 in the Spanish capital. Madrid remained undefeated and one of three teams with a perfect 3-0 record, while Baskonia dropped to 1-2. In another stellar offensive performance from Madrid, Sergio Llull led the way with 23 points, while Rudy Fernandez netted 14 on 4-for-5 three-point shooting. Marcelinho Huertas was Baskonia’s top scorer with 14 points. In a fast-paced game from the get-go, Llull and Anthony Randolph fueled an early 10-0 run, setting the tone for Madrid with two triples each. Baskonia’s balanced offense pulled it back, and long-range strikes from Huertas and Patricio Garino made it 44-41. The visitors kept pushing and tied it 65-65 through Garino late in the third, but Llull answered with two triples, Fabien Causeur had a three-point play in between, and Madrid never looked back en route to another big scoring night.