Top 16 Round 8: Two teams now lead groups exclusively!
Turkish Airlines Euroleague action roared back for the second half of the Top 16 with another exclusive group leader emerging from Round 8, an away winning streak remaining intact in the toughest of venues, plus two more road winners and a home team throwing their hats back in the playoff hunt.
Three of the group’s games were on Thursday. Real Madrid defeated Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 85-61 in the Spanish capital to remain in first place. Madrid improved to 7-1 as Jaycee Carroll paced the winners with 17 points and Rudy Fernandez added 15. Boban Marjanovic totalled 21 points and 13 rebounds in defeat. The guests led 16-18 after 10 minutes, but Sergio Rodriguez and Carroll gave Madrid a double-digit margin, 40-29, at halftime and Los Blancos added to it the rest of the night. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv held on for a 73-70 victory over rival Panathinaikos Athens at Menora Mivtachim Arena. The result broke a tie between the teams for second place in Group E; Maccabi improved to 6-2, while Panathinaikos fell to 5-3. The Greens, who beat Maccabi by 7 in Athens in the Top 16 opener, protected that difference to earn a tiebreak advantage should the teams be tied at the end of the Top 16. The game was closely contested throughout; Panathinaikos drew within 1 twice in the fourth quarter, but Maccabi held on and sealed the win with late free throws from Jeremy Pargo and Joe Alexander. Pargo led the champs with 16 points. Former Maccabi player and two-time Euroleague champ David Blu was honored during the game and inducted in the Maccabi Tel Aviv Hall of Fame. Zalgiris Kaunas led from start to finish to beat visiting Galatasary Liv Hospital Istanbul 72-59. Zalgiris opened the game with an 18-3 lead and the visitors never came closer than 9 points the rest of the way. Paulius Jankunas led the winners with 12 points and 9 rebounds. On Friday, in another critical matchup, FC Barcelona needed overtime to defeat visiting ALBA Berlin 92-82 and hold onto second place with a 5-3 record. Justin Doellman had 17 points, Ante Tomic 16 and Juan Carlos Navarro 14 for Barcelona. ALBA, which fell to 3-5, got 20 each from Alex Renfroe and Reggie Redding, while Leon Radosevic scored 19, including the basket that sent the game to overtime.
Samardo Samuels put together one of the best Top 16 performances in Euroleague history to lead EA7 Emporio Armani Milan to a 76-85 road win at Nizhny Novgorod. Samuels missed just 3 shots in amassing 36- points, 9 rebounds and 12 fouls drawn. His performance index rating of 47 is tied for the third-best in Top 16 history. Samuels set a Top 16 record with 14 two-pointers made and set a Milan record for points in this competition. MarShon Brooks added 14 points for the winners, while Daniel Hackett tallied 12 points and 9 assists. In the first of three Friday games, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul registered a good-as-gold road win and took over second place by downing CSKA Moscow 75-81 for its seventh consecutive road win. Both teams have 6-3 records, but Fenerbahce won by more points Friday than it had lost to CSKA in Istanbul. Andrew Goudelock and Jan Vesely led the winners with 14 points apiece. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 13 while Nemanja Bjelica tallied 11 points and 13 rebounds for Fenerbahce. Nando De Colo led CSKA with 18 points. Milos Teodosic added 14 and Sonny Weems 13 for the hosts, who suffered their first home loss of the Euroleague season. Olympiacos Piraeus took advantage of CSKA's loss to claim ownership of first place in Top 16 Group F with a tense 77-72 victory over visiting Unicaja Malaga to mark its 500th game in European competitions dating to 1960. Olympiacos improved to 7-1 and Unicaja fell to 1-7 despite leading until halftime and being within 61-60 late in the game, when Vassilis Spanoulis scored 7 of his 10 points in a decisive 10-3 run for the Reds. Spanoulis added 10 assists while Georgios Printezis scored 13 and Matt Lojeski 12 for the winners. Unicaja got 13 points from Jayson Granger. And Laboral Kutxa Vitoria challenged for a playoff spot by going on the road to defeat Anadolu Efes Istanbul 84-87 in a thriller. Both teams now have 4-4 records, but Efes managed to hold a tiebreaker over Laboral, which it defeated by 5 in the Top 16 opener in Spain. Fernando San Emeterio scored 22 points, Colton Iverson posted 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Davis Bertans added 14 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting to pace Laboral. Efes, which rallied to get within one possession in the final minute, but came up empty on its final possession, bot 18 points from Dario Saric 17 from Thomas Heurtel and 16 from Nenad Krstic 16.
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