Regular Season Round 10: Crvena Zvezda beats Bayern to capture spot in Top 16!
The 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season is in the books after an exciting set of games on Friday. Crvena Zvezda claimed last Top 16 spot in its legendary Hala Pionir, while two Russian sides - Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar at home, and CSKA Moscow on the road – each clinched first place in their respective groups. On Thursday, the defending champ Real Madrid and newcomer Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul claimed their tickets to the Top 16, which tips off on Tuesday, December 29.
AReigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Real Madrid thrashed Strasbourg 97-65 in the Spanish capital on Thursday to advance to the Top 16. In the process, Madrid broke the Euroleague's all-time assist record with 36 as six different Madrid players recorded at least 4 assists. The hosts took control from the get-go, holding 29-15 margin after first quarter and 44-22 in the second. Strasbourg cut the deficit before halftime, but Madrid finished the third quarter with an 11-1 run and continued rolling to the final buzzer as Jeffery Taylor led six double-digit scorers with 16 points, while Sergio Rodriguez added 14. Madrid finished the regular season with a 5-5 record, while Strasbourg goes out from sixth place with a 3-7 record. Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade outlasted FC Bayern Munich 85-76 to capture third place and with it a spot in the Top 16 on Friday evening. Zvezda took charge early and led by as many as 13 in the first quarter, but Bayern slowly came back. A 2-12 third-quarter run put the visitors in the driver’s seat and they led by as many as 11. But the fourth quarter belonged to Zvezda, which rallied behind great shooting from Marko Guduric and big plays from Stefan Jovic, Maik Zirbes and Quincy Miller to win big. Miller paced the attack with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Zirbes added 17 points and 9 rebounds, Guduric scored a career-high 16 points and Jovic tallied 9 points and 13 assists. Bogdan Bogdanovic’s game-winning tip-in with 4.9 seconds to go, lifted first place
Fenerbahce Istanbul past Khimki Moscow Region 68-70 on Thursday. Fenerbahce finished the regular season with an 8-2 record in first place, while Khimki goes into the Top 16 with a 5-5 record. The eams traded leads often in the second half as the game went down to the wire. At the very end, Bogdanovic put back Ekpe Udoh’s missed free throw with a tip-in and then Udoh sealed the victory by stealing the ensuing Khimki’s inbound pass. Jan Vesely paced the visitors with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Bobby Dixon was clutch in the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points, while Tyrese Rice scored 15 of his 19 points in the first quarter to lead Khimki.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul never trailed in Pireaus en rout to 68-81 win over Olympiacos Piraeus to secure second place in Group B. Efes improved to 6-4 record, same as Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz which topped Cedevita Zagreb 92-70 on Thursday, but Efes held a tie-break advantage in head-to-head games over Laboral. In the Peace & Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Efes built 10-21 lead after 10 minutes, and went on to hold that margin for most of the game, rarely allowing the hosts – which played without Vassilis Spanoulis and Matt Lojeski - cut the deficit to single digits. Dario Saric collected 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists while Thomas Heurtel had 13 points and 5 assists to lead Efes. A day earlier, Laboral remained perfect on home floor and collected its 200th Euroleague victory. Cedevita finished regular season in fourth place. Fabien Causeur scored 12 of his 20 points in the first quarter as Laboral took control, and Ioannis Bourousis scored 14 of his 17 points in late third and early fourth quarters when Laboral pulled away for good. Toko Shengelia netted 16 on 4-for-5 three-point shooting for Laboral. In a Friday night clash of two eliminated teams, Limoges CSP held off EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 69-77 on the road to sweep Milan and claim fifth place. The visitors took control behind 8 first half triples and held 41-48 lead at halftime. Behind Nobel Boungou-Colo, Limoges opened a 14-point margin late in the third quarter, and the hosts never came closer than 4 points the rest of the way as Boungou-Colo paced the winners with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks
In a thriller that went down to the last minute on Friday, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar rallied to down the visiting FC Barcelona Lassa 78-74, and clinched first place in Group C. Lokomotiv finished with an 8-2 record while Barcelona fell to 6-4 in second place. Barcelona led 54-63 early in the fourth quarter, but Lokomotiv rallied behind Malcolm Delaney and Anthony Randolph to take and keep the lead down the stretch. Delaney finished with 19 points and 9 assists, while Randolph had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Juan Carlos Navarro had 22 points, his most in a Euroleague game since the April of 2014, while Ante Tomic followed with 17 and 7 rebounds. A day earlier, in a direct fight for third place, Panathinaikos Athens edged Zalgiris Kaunas 72-75 on the road. The Greens finishes regular season with 6-4 record, same as Barcelona which won second-place tie on point difference in their head-to-head wins against each other. A very intense showdown in the Lithuanian capital also went down to the final seconds. Zalgiris led 58-52 after three quarters, but James Feldeine made clutch baskets to lead the Greens' rally. The hosts had 6 seconds for a final possession and Brock Motum got a chance to send the game into overtime, but missed a wide-open corner triple. Feldeine and Nick Calathes each had 14 points for Panathinaikos, while Zalgiris got 19 points from Olivier Hanlan. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir finished its first-ever Turkish Airlines Euroleague season in style by downing Stelmet Zielona Gora 81-83, finishing regular season in fifth place. Karsiyaka led 36-49 at halftime, but the hosts used a 15-2 run to return to the game at 61-63 with 10 minutes to go. A wild three-pointer by Justin Carter seemed to seal the outcome at 71-76, but Zielona Gora had a shot to tie it, which J.R. Reynolds missed. Justin Carter sealed the outcome with free throws, and finished with 27 points to lead all scorers. Juan Palacios added 13 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals while Mateusz Ponitka led Zielona Gora with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
On the final day of the regular season, CSKA Moscow bested Unicaja Malaga 76-88 on the road, to win first place in the group with a 9-1 record. Unicaja is second at 7-3, after a game in which it led in the first half by as many as 33-24. But CSKA cut the deficit before halftime, then improvd its defense after the break. Vitaly Fridzon and Cory Higgins each struck twice from downtown and got help from Joel Freeland. The visitors had 57-65 margin after 30 minutes before Kurbanov scored all of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and a three-point play by De Colo sealed the outcome, 70-83, long before the final buzzer. De Colo led the winners with 18 points and 7 assists while Freeland added 10 points in victory. A day earlier on Thursday, newcomer Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul made history in the Game of the Week by qualifying to the Top 16 for the first time. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv defeated Darussafaka 66-70 on the road, but it was a pyric victory; Maccabi needed to win by at least 11 to overtake Darussafaka. As a result, both teams finished with 4-6 records, but Darussafaka placed fourth and went through, while Maccabi is fifth and will instead play the Eurocup Last 32 for the first time. Darussafaka opened fourth quarter with a 13-2 run to go up 62-52. Maccabi rallied back in the closing minutes and tried to force a tie, but Reggie Redding ended all hopes with 19 seconds left, when he intentionally made only 1 of 2 free throws to ensure the game would not be extended. Taylor Rochestie’s triple won the game for Maccabi. Sylven Landesberg paced Maccabi with 14 points. Furkan Aldemir led Darussafaka with 12. Also on Thursday, third-place Brose Baskets Bamberg beat Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 86-54 as Nikos Zisis tallied 16 points. Bamberg took commanding control in the second quarter, led 49-33 at halftime, and never looked back, as it finished with a 6-4 record while leaving already eliminated Sassari winless in 10 regular season games.
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