Top 16, Round 1: Road wins for CSKA, Madrid, Panathinaikos, Maccabi to open Top 16!
The 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 tipped off with exciting clashes over two days in which half the games went to the visitors and three-quarters of them were decided by fewer than 10 points! Interestingly, some of the most exciting games were won by the teams that made up last season’s Final Four: Panathinaikos, Maccabi Electra, Real Madrid and Montepaschi Siena. Starting in order from Group E, CSKA Moscow beat Olympiacos 78-86 on Wednesday as Nenad Krstic scored 18 and Viktor Khryapa 16. The win kept the Russian champs perfect through 11 games this season. On Thursday in the first all Turkish League affair in the Euroleague, Anadolu Efes downed GS Medical Park 68-62 behind a monster night from Dusko Savanovic. The All-Euroleague forward complied 16 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for the winners, who visit CSKA next week. In Group F, Montepaschi Siena defeated Gescrap BB 81-67 Wednesday as Bo McCalebb and David Andersen scored 18 points each. The hosts pieced together a 17-0 run between the second and third quarters to take the lead for good and then turned on their jets in the fourth quarter to claim the sizeable margin. Thursday’s Group F fixture as close as possible with Real Madrid edging Unicaja 80-81 on Nikola Mirotic’s basket with 0.5 seconds left. The December MVP’s heroics muted a brilliant 32-point, 10 rebound performance from Unicaja big man Luksa Andric. Montepaschi and Madrid meet for first place in the Spanish capital next week. In the first game of the competition’s second stage, Unics Kazan topped Fenerbahce Ulker 76-71 in Group G after trailing by 17 at halftime. The hosts were too strong in the second half thanks to Petr Samoylenko, who delivered career highs of 18 points and 9 assists, and Vladimir Veremeenko, who tallied 17 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. The victory was the fourth in a row for Unics. Group G also featured the Game of the Week, in which defending champion Panathinaikos routed EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 57-78. The Greens led from start to finish and made it look easy. David Logan scored 12 to pace a balanced attack in which all 12 Panathinaikos players scored a basket. Panathinaikos hosts Unics next Week. Group H was the only in the Top 16 in which both games took place Thursday. In the early game, Maccabi Electra defeated Zalgiris 76-84. Richard Hendrix came up big in the closing minutes as the hosts tried to come back. Demond Mallet paced Maccabi with 15 in his first game with the team. And FC Barcelona Regal outlasted Bennet Cantu 65-60. Cantu hung around and led early in the fourth quarter before Kosta Perovic who led a game-breaking 9-0 run that sealed the outcome. Chuck Eidson scored 15 in an alla-round great performance to lead the hosts. Barcelona visits Maccabi next week, which means that after two weeks, every group will have an undefeated leader!