Regular Season, Round 7: Six more teams roar into Top 16!
After CSKA Moscow qualified first to the Top 16 last week, six more teams punched their tickets to the next phase in Regular Season, Round 7. They are: Fenerbahce Istanbul in Group A, Olympiacos Piraeus in Group B, FC Barcelona Lassa and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasonodar in Group C, plus Unicaja Malaga and Brose Baskets Bamberg in Group D. Along with CSKA, that means that there is only one Group D spot left to be filled, but it won't be Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari, the first team eliminated from Top 16 contention.
Fenerbahce Istanbul thrashed Strasbourg 81-64 to advance to the Top 16. Fenerbahce improved to 6-1 and has a two-game gap over every other team in the group with three games to go in the regular season. Jan Vesely led the winners with 20 points on 9-of-11 two-point shooting and Ekpe Udoh added 15 points. The margin was 5 points in the third quarter before Melih Mahmutoglou struck twice from downtown in a 14-0 run that sealed the outcome, 66-47, early in the fourth. FC Bayern Munich beat Khimki Moscow Region 70-81 on the road in the Round 7 opener on Thursday. Bayern not only swept the regular season series against Khimki, but also snapped its three-game losing streak. During the 40 minutes, Bayern only briefly trailed early in the first quarter, before John Bryant fueled a run that built a 14-23 lead, and three consecutive triples late in the second quarter helped Bayern to a 30-42 halftime margin. Khimki melted the deficit after the break, but never got closer than 54-59. Bryant paced Bayern with 17 points and 6 rebounds. On Friday, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade overcame Real Madrid 94-88 at Hala Pionir. Maik Zirbes starred with 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting – including 15 points in the final six minutes to help Zvezda finish Madrid off. Quincy Miller shined with 24 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, several of which came at key points in the third as Zvezda rallied from a
double-digit deficit. The result dropped the champs to last place in the group.
In a defensive battle at the top of the group, Olympiacos (6-1) pulled out a hard-fought 59-52 win over Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz and qualified to the Top 16 on Thursday. Laboral (4-3) rallied from a double-digit deficit to return to the game in the fourth quarter but three-pointers by Vangelis Mantzaris and Ioannis Athinaiou sealed the outcome in the next-to-last minute. Vassilis Spanoulis led the Reds with 10 points, while Laboral's Ioannis Bourousis amassed 16 points plus 15 rebounds against his former team. Cedevita Zagreb never trailed in a pivotal 69-78 road win against Limoges CSP, making a huge step towards qualifying for the Top 16. It was Cedevita's third win in four road games this season, and it also won a tiebreaker as it overcame a four-point loss against Limoges from Round 2. Behind a career-night from Luka Babic, Cedevita opened a 16-point lead in the third quarter before Heiko Schaffartzik led a rally by Limoges. However, the hosts never came closer than 6 points before Babic put the game away as it finished with a career-high 19 points and 6 rebounds. Heiko Schaffartzik was all over with 17 points on 5-for-8 three-point shooting, 11 assists and 6 rebounds for Limoges. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan edged Anadolu Efes Istanbul 88-84 to snap a five-game losing streak and keep alive its hopes of reaching the Top 16. Jamel McLean made clutch baskets down the stretch and finishes with 26 points, while Krunoslav Simon had 17 points, five rebounds and six assists in victory.
Two teams secured their Top 16 berths improving to 6-1 records atop of group standings. FC Barcelona Lassa overpowered Stelmet Zielona Gora 64-93 for its sixth straight win to clinch a ticket into the Top 16 on Thursday. Barcelona was fueled by a club record 17 three-pointers with only 9 misses! Alex Abrines led the charge by shooting 4 for 5 from downtown for 16 points, while Aleksandar Vezenkov and Carlos Arroyo each made 3 threes and scored 15 points. On Friday, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar's historic 80-50 rout of Zalgiris Kaunas sent it into the Top 16. Lokomotiv set a team record for fewest points allowed and came within 1 of the largest margin of victory in the club’s Euroleague history. It also marked the fewest points ever scored by Zalgiris in a Euroleague game. Lokomotiv scored the first 10 points of the game to set the tone and then held Zalgiris to just 3 in the second quarter in building an insurmountable 53-17 halftime lead, which was the third-largest at halftime in Euroleague history. Evgeny Voronov scored 14 points to lead a balanced Lokomotiv attack and Ryan Broekhoff shined with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Panathinaikos Athens pulled out a dramatic 66-69 road win over Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir. The Greens never trailed and did not allow the hosts to get closer than 6 points for more than three quarters. But Karsiyaka rallied down the stretch, and the teams were tied at 64-64 going into the final minute before Nick Calathes hit a three-pointer and James Gist came up with a clutch blocked shot with 20 seconds to go, secured a key win. James Feldeine netted 17 points and pulled down 7 rebounds to pace Panathinaikos and Gist collected 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in Panathinaikos first road win of
the regular season.
After Round 7, three teams from Group D already have their Top 16 place booked. On Thursday, Unicaja Malaga vaulted into the Top 16 with a no-doubt-about it 82-68 victory over visiting Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. A 20-0 run bridging the first and second quarters put Unicaja in control, and though Maccabi closed within 71-63 late, Will Thomas shut the door by scoring 11 of his 20 points in the last 5 minutes. Mindaugas Kuzminskas followed for the winners with 14 points, while Richard Hendrix had a double-double of 11 and 12 rebounds. Taylor Rochestie had 13 points and 4 assists for Maccabi, whose record dropped to 1-6 and the danger zone for elimination. On Friday, Brose Baskets Bamberg joined in by topping Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul on the road 54-65. Bamberg improved to 5-2 after getting its fourth consecutive win. Bamberg pulled away behind its defense and built a double-digit margin in the third quarter, before Daniel Theis took over in crunch time to make sure Bamberg got the victory it needed to reach the Top 16. Theis led the winners with 13 points while Nicolo Melli grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds for Bamberg. Darussafaka dropped to 3-4, and ranks fourth with a two-win gap over Maccabi. In a thriller that went down to the final minute in the Russian capital, already-qualified CSKA Moscow registered its sixth win by downing Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari 93-87. CSKA's victory mathematically eliminated Sassari from Top 16 contention. CSKA led 70-58 through three quarters, but Sassari rallied behind David Logan and tied it at 82-82 and again at 86-86 in the final minute. But Milos Teodosic answered from downtown and Nando De Colo hit 4 free throws to win it for CSKA down the stretch. Teodosic led the winners with 21 points and De Colo scored 17 on 12-of-12 free throw shooting. Logan led Sassari with 21 points.
Be sure to follow all the fun this week on Euroleague.TV and Euroleague.net!