Regular Season, Round 5: Unicaja stands alone unbeaten!!
The halfway point of the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season arrived with just one team able to stay unbeaten, none other than Unicaja Malaga, which won a first-place duel with CSKA Moscow. Fenerbahce Istanbul and Olympiacos Piraeus also sit atop their groups, while FC Barcelona Lassa and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar share the lead in another. All teams start seeing each other again for a second time starting in Round 6!
In a battle for first place, an exciting showdown literally went down to the wire on Friday as Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul downed Khimki Moscow Region 88-83. Fenerbahce improved to a 4-1 record, with Khimki right behind at 3-2. The hosts led for the entire second half, until Khimki tied the game at 81-81 with 16 seconds to go. But Kostas Sloukas, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Luigi Datome combined to make 7 of 8 free throws in crunch time to lead Fenerbahce to an important win. Datome paced the winners with 19 points, while Bobby Dixon added 16. Making a big statement, Strasbourg upset reigning champion Real Madrid 93-86. It was Strasbourg’s second win in as many home games, while Madrid is still searching for a road win, as both teams hold 2-3 records in a four-way share of third place. Strasbourg led 51-44 at halftime, then used a 13-0 run early in the third quarter to open an 18-point lead and never look back as Louis Campbell paced the team with 23 points on 4 of 5 three-point shooting. Rodrigue Beaubois added 16 points with 6 assists. On a historic Thursday night in Munich, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade triumphed over FC Bayern Munich 79-90. Stefan Jovic set a new Euroleague record with 19 assists and Quincy Miller scored 22 points to lead Zvezda. Each of the four quarters had at least one lead change. Bayern led 48-40 early in the third quarter, but Miller and Vladimir Stimac sparked Zvezda’s rally. In the fourth, Nikola Rebic and Marko Simonovic got hot from downtown, each sinking 3 triples, and with their Euroleague career-high scoring performances helped Zvezda pull away and register a victory that puts it right back in the Top 16 race.
In Friday's clash of two hot teams on winning streaks, Cedevita Zagreb took charge in the second half for a 76-67 victory over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, storming into a share of second place in Group B with a 3-2 record. The win was the third in a row for Cedevita, which took the lead for good in the third quarter behind Jacob Pullen, who starred with a career-high 26 points, and Miro Bilan who posted 17 points and 10 rebounds. In a dramatic Game of the Week on Thursday, visiting Olympiacos Piraeus edged Anadolu Efes Istanbul after overtime 87-91 at Abdi Ipekci Arena. The Reds led by 15 points in the second quarter, but needed to rally from a late fourth-quarter double-digit deficit to force the extra session. Jayson Granger led Efes after the break, and the hosts took a 72-61 lead late in the fourth, but Georgios Printezis and Daniel Hackett hit bug buckets for Olympiacos, and D.J. Strawberry forced overtime from the free throw line, 76-76. In the extra session, each team hit 3 times from behind the arc before Ioannis Papapetrou and Strawberry secured the Reds’ win in the final minute. Printezis finished with 17 points, and Othello Hunter had 15 for Olympiacos. Limoges CSP scored a solid 74-65 victory over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. The victory got the French champs back into the Top 16 race as the hosts took control with a 20-9 second quarter and kept Milan comfortably at bay the rest of the way. The winners got 18 points from Nobel Boungou-Colo, and 15 from Ali Traore.
In a direct battle for first place on Thursday, FC Barcelona Lassa edged Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 72-68 at Palau Blaugrana. The visitors led 48-57 with 8 minutes left, but Barcelona rallied behind Brad Oleson, Tomas Satoransky and Samardo Samuels, and held on for a victory that left the two teams tied for first place at 4-1. Ante Tomic led Barcelona with 16 points and 7 assists, while Satoransky added 10 points and a key steal in victory. On Friday, Panathinaikos Athens eased past Zalgiris Kaunas 91-56 to snap its two-game losing streak. Miroslav Raduljica’s 18 points paced five players in double figures for Panathinaikos, which jumped out to a 14-point lead after 10 minutes and the margin kept growing until it reached 38 points in the fourth quarter. James Feldeine added 15 points on 5-for-7 three-point shooting in victory. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir recorded its second win by downing Stelmet Zielona Gora 77-66 at home. The hosts broke the game open after halftime and took a 64-46 fourth quarter lead before holding off the visitors' rally. Colton Iverson scored 15 points to paced Karsiyaka, which improved to 2-3, while Zielona Gora dropped to 1-4.
There is only one team still undefeated in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, and it is Unicaja Malaga after a come-from-behind 78-86 victory over previously unbeaten CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital on Friday. Edwin Jackson and Mindaugas Kuzminskas starred for Unicaja, which fell behind in the third quarter, but then rallied with a big fourth quarter to pull away. Jackson made 6 of 8 three-pointers and finished with 24 points, while Kuzminskas only missed 3 shots in accruing 22 points plus 3 assist and 3 steals. Brose Baskets Bamberg went on the road to beat Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 73-90 on Friday, after breaking open a close game late in the third quarter and never looking back. Bamberg improved to 3-2 and firmed up its hold on third place in Group D behind Unicaja and CSKA, while Sassari remains the only winless team left in the Euroleague at 0-5. Brad Wanamaker sparked an 0-8 takeover run for Bamberg late in the third, but it was Nicolo Melli visiting his native Italy for the first time as an opponent who starred with career-highs of 26 points and a performance index rating of 37 as he also collected 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Wanamaker added 18 points for the winners. The first of Group D’s three road wins happened on Thursday, when Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul made history by downing Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 73-84, at Menora Mivtachim Arena. It is Darussafaka’s first ever road win in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Manu Markoishvili scored 11 third-quarter points as the visitors took control and added a pair of threes early in the fourth as the lead grew to 15. Maccabi never got closer than 8 the rest of the way. Markoishvili finished with 22 points, Semih Erden did not miss from the field in scoring 16 for the winners. Maccabi, playing its first game under interim coach Avi Even, fell to 1-4 for its worst start to a Euroleague season since the turn of the century.
Don't miss the action and follow it all on the new Euroleague TV, on social media and of course, as always, right here on E