Regular Season, Round 7: Siena, CSKA, Panathinaikos climb aboard Top 16 train!
The battle for the Top 16 took some dramatic turns in regular season Week 7 as three new teams blasted their way into the next round with road wins even as first place either changed hands or was newly shared in three different groups. Group A, where three road teams won, is where things are clearest. Already-qualified Regal FC Barcelona downed Cibona 66-80 to remain the Euroleague's sole unbeaten team while Montepaschi prevailed 72-83 at Zalgiris to also reach the Top 16 as David Hawkins scored 21. Meanwhile, Asvel beat Fenerbahce Ulker 61-68 to take over third place, although both teams have a foot in the next round. Group B saw a change of leader when Olympiacos overwhelmed Unicaja 89-68. Although they are tied, Olympiacos took a tie-break margin-of-victory advantage, too. Both are now followed, in a tie for third place, by Partizan, which outlasted Efes Pilsen 93-92 in a thriller, and Lietuvos Rytas, which eliminated Orleans 77-72. Group C is even more interesting, with a three-way tie for first place after Caja Laboral shocked Maccabi 82-91 in Tel Aviv behind Mirza Teletovic's career-high 28 points, CSKA downed host Roma 57-72. Although it is tied with Caja Laboral and Maccabi at 5-2, CSKA is the first of them to advance to the Top 16 for having beaten fifth-place Maroussi, a 74-62 winner over Olimpija, twice already. And in Group D, it took an overtime thriller, but defending Panathinaikos topped Khimki 82-87 to vault into the Top 16 and take control of first place at the same time. Vassilis Spanoulis scored a season-high 24 points and Antonis Fotsis forced overtime with a last-second tip-in for the Greens, who benefitted from Asseco Prokom stunning Real Madrid 82-76 thanks to a career-high 27 points from Qyntel Woods. Madrid would have reached the Top 16 had it won. In the same group, Armani Jeans Milano routed EWE Baskets Oldenburg 79-51. Milano hosts Prokom next week in a key game for their Top 16 hopes.