Top 16 Round 2: Home courts prove decisive!
The second round of Top 16 action was not one the visiting teams will want to remember. Only one of them – Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul – was able to wrest away a victory to bring home. There was plenty of offense with three teams scoring at least 90 points and great defense with three teams held to 62 points or fewer. The final scores left Real Madrid alone atop Group E at 2-0, while three teams share the top spot in Group F with the same record.
In an attractive game at Barclaycard Center, Real Madrid downed Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 93-78 on Thursday. Felipe Reyes paced the winners with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Galatasaray led 25-27 early in the second quarter, but Andres Nocioni and Marcus Slaughter fueled a 13-0 run and an outstanding Sergio Rodriguez boosted the hosts' lead to 55-39 at halftime. Madrid then managed to keep a double-digit margin until the final buzzer. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv overcame Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 78-67in the first Top 16 game at the renamed Menora Mivtachim Arena. Brian Randle collected 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals and Sofoklis Schortsanitis added 15 points for the reigning champs. Maccabi led by as many as 10 in the second quarter, but Nikola Kalinic helped the visitors narrow the gap to 37-33 at halftime before taking the lead in the third quarter. However Maccabi entertained with several alley-oops as it regained control and pushed the lead to as high as 18 in the fourth quarter to claim the victory. Maccabi’s Devin Smith received his bwin MVP for December award prior to tipoff from Euroleague Basketball President and CEO Jordi Bertomeu.Zalgiris Kaunas topped ALBA Berlin 75-62 to pick up its first Top 16 win in Zalgirio Arena on Friday. Every time Zalgiris pulled away to a double-digit margin, ALBA had an answer,The visitors cut it to 53-51 early in the fourth, and 64-60 with less than three minutes to go, but Zalgiris finished the game on an 11-2 run to secure the victory. James Anderson finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds, while Paulius Jankunas collected 14 points, 6 boards and 4 assists. In the final game of the week, ne of basketball's great rivalries lived up to its billing Friday: FC Barcelona escaped with an 80-76 win over visiting Panathinaikos Athens. Marcelinho Huertas had a quarter he'll never forget, hitting 6 three-pointers in the 10 minutes after halftime. Five of those shots he hit consecutively in a three-minute span interrupted only by a timeout. The sixth fell in fortunately on Barcelona's last shot of the quarter, giving Barcelona a double-digit lead, 63-53. Panathinaikos came back to within a point, 77-76, on DeMarcus Nelson's fastbreak layup with 1:41 left before Justin Doellman's three-point play in the final minute finished the scoring and assured Barcelona the victory. Huertas led the winners with 22 points and 5 assists. Doellman added 12 points. Nelson scored 16 for the Greens.
In a highly-entertaining, run-and-gun showdown, CSKA Moscow defeated Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 99-90 in the Russian capital on Thursday. Sonny Weems paced the winners with 22 points and 8 rebounds, Milos Teodosic added 18 points and Nando De Colo had 17 points and 8 assists. Weems and De Colo gave the hosts a 53-36 margin at halftime, but Laboral rallied after the break behind a great team effort, getting as close as 81-77 on a three-pointer by Darius Adams. Weems, De Colo and Teodosic stepped up in crunch time to seal the deal down the stretch. CSKA set a club record with 10 blocks, as did Laboral by pulling down 23 offensive rebounds. In the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Game of the Week, Olympiacos Piraeus routed EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 81-58 at the Peace and Friendship Stadium. The visitors led early, but the Reds used a 7-0 and a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Four three-pointers during a 23-3 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters broke the game wide open. Brent Petway and Oliver Lafayette each had 13 points in victory, while Matt Lojeski scored 12 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul stopped Nizhny Novgorod 60-78 on Friday. Led by Andrew Goudelock and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who alone combined for than half the Turkish champs’ points, and terrific defense down the stretch, Coach Zeljko Obradovic’s team claimed their first win of the Top 16. Goudelock poured in 23 points and Bogdanovic 17. The big difference in the game was Nizhny’s 15 turnovers compared to just 4 by the visitors. Down 15 at halftime, Anadolu Efes Istanbul rallied past Unicaja Malaga 74-70. Matt Janning paced the winners with 17 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Dontaye Draper was the game hero, scoring 5 of his 13 points in the final two minutes, including a game-sealing three-point shot. Unicaja took off with an early 0-11 run and led 34-49 at the break. Janning, Draper and Stratos Perperoglou each struck twice from downtown in the third quarter to tie the game, 57-57, and Cedi Osman and Draper made big baskets in the fourth.