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Eurocup Recaps, Round 6 (Finishing The Regular Season)

The Eurocup Regular Season came to a close this week.

BC Donetsk 80-69 BCM Gravelines

BC Donetsk stole a fantastic home win, a win that could have potentially propelled the Ukrainian side to the top of Group A and above their opponent, BCM Gravelines. The 11-point victory wasn’t enough, however, as point differential allowed Gravelines to keep the top spot as both teams advance to the Last 16.

Gravelines went into the second half with a three-point lead, but saw that margin vanish as Ramel Curry led a 20-0 Donetsk run that would put the game away for good. The journeyman guard Curry finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, matched only by teammate Ivan Radenovic, who had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

For the visitors, J.R Reynolds (former Virginia star) was one of only two players to reach double-figures with 17 points and six rebounds.

KK Cibona 78-86 Hapoel Jerusalem

With absolutely nothing on the line, Hapoel Jerusalem finished their Eurocup campaign with a second victory, taking down the Croatian side KK Cibona.

Brian Randle led Jerusalem with 17 points (7-for-11 shooting) while former NBA player Luke Jackson was also decent, contributing 13 of his own.

Cholet Basket 69-66 Paok BC

With 27 points and four assists from Fabien Causeur, Cholet Basket won a meaningless game as the French side battled it out with Paok BC for third position in Group B.

It was a nice ending for the shooting guard with the sweet stroke and nice handles as he finished his Eurocup campaign averaging 23 points and four assists per game.

James Christopher also scored 17 points for the home side while former Boston Celtic J.R Giddens scored 17 while also grabbing six rebounds. Veteran guard Ioannis Kalampokis also had a solid outing, collecting 18 points and nabbing seven rebounds.

VEF Riga 68-79 BC Khimki

BC Khimki finished their Eurocup regular season undefeated as they beat second placed VEF Riga in the other Group B matchup. Never trailing, Khimki received great performances from Alexey Zhukanenko (19 points seven rebounds), former NBA player Zoran Planinic (12 points, eight assists and five steals) and Kresimir Loncar (12 points, seven rebounds).

Former Miami Heat reserve guard Chris Quinn also had a notable performance with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists, as did Australian national player, Matt Nielsen, who had 10 points in 18 minutes. 

Gasterra Flames 75-92 CEZ Nymburk

CEZ Nymburk continued their great play in Group C, defeating Gasterra Flames on the road and remaining atop the table. Adrian Abrams score 17 points (3-4 from down town), while Drew Naymick (six rebounds), Tre Simmons and Eugene Lawrence (eight assists) all scored 14 apiece.

Aris BSA 96-86 BC Rudupis

Aris BSA was able to hold on and win a thriller at home, securing second place in Group C. Their overtime victory was even more memorable considering they dropped an 11 point third quarter lead.

Ronald Davis saved the game for the home team as his dunk with five seconds left evened the score at 78 apiece. He finished with 19 points while Dominic James (22 points) and Christos Tapoutas (18 points, 11 rebounds) also played starring roles.

Arminas Urbutis was great for the visitors and his third quarter play helped sparked the run that cut away at Aris’ 11 point lead. He totaled 20 points and five rebounds.

Telenet Oostende 87-83 Valencia Basket

With no chance at a trip to the Last 16, Telenet Oostende still managed a victory against group leading Valencia Basket. The shocking loss dropped the Spanish powerhouse out of first place in Group D as the team collapsed in the final eight minutes, giving up a small lead.

Forward Winston Kennedy (Alabama University 2002-05) scored 19 points and made 11-of-13 attempts at the line while Dusan Djordjevic had 19 points and seven rebounds.

Asvel Basket 69-68 Lukoil Academic

Kim Tillie nailed a jumper with under half a second remaining in overtime to lift Asvel Basket over Lukoil Academic and into Group D’s top position.

Tillie was strong throughout and nailed some important baskets down the stretch. He finished with 19 points on 9-13 shooting while Dijon Thompson had 21 of his own. Former New Orleans Hornet Hilton Armstrong didn’t have a great shooting night, but he did manage 10 rebounds and three steals.

G. Canaria 71-58 Fraport Skyliners

Gran Canaria did everything they needed to do in Round 6 by defeating struggling German side Fraport Skyliners, but still failed to qualify for the Last 16. Stuck with four wins and two losses left Gran Canaria in a three-way tie for the top-two positions in Group E and they missed out on advancing by the smallest of margins.

Not a close game at all, Canaria was led by Nelson Spencer who scored 15 and grabbed nine boards. Their balanced attack won out against the one man show of Jimmy McKinny (27 points, 5-8 three point shooting) with all but one man on the roster scoring at least two points.

Banvit BK 79-55 Lokomotiv Kuban

Banvit BK blew out Lokomotiv Kuban and the win sealed top position in Group E for the Turkish side. Despite the no show from Lokomotiv, they find themselves also making the Last 16, beating out Gran Canaria on point differential.

Six players reached double figures for Banvit with Chuck Davis and Kenan Bajramovic leading the way with 15 and 14 points respectively.

BC Azovmash 67-74 Lietuvos Rytas

Lietuvos Rytas won their matchup with BC Azovmash and remained one of three teams to finish the Eurocup regular season undefeated.

Lietuvos found themselves down at the half, but the Lithuanian side took the lead in the third term and never gave it back. Renaldas Seibutis (17 points), Tyrese Rice (16 points, seven assists) and Lawrence Roberts (15 points, six rebounds) all had nice performances for Lietuvos.

KRKA Novo Mesto 68-65 Le Mans

Their second seed already secured in Group F, KRKA Novo Mesto won a tight game at home against Le Mans. The scores were even with just over four minutes to go, but Novo Mesto hold on to leave Le Mans with just one win for their campaign.

Smiljan Pavic led KRKA with 13 points and eight rebounds and Jure Balazic was also great, posting 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Spartak St. Petersburg 97-77 Benetton Treviso

Spartak wrapped up the inevitable last night by blowing out Italian side Benetton Treviso at home by 20 points. Six wins and zero losses to their name, Spartak completed another dominant performance Vladimir Dragicevic’s 21 point effort. Pint-sized, exciting point guard Patrick Beverely only managed four points, but made up for his lack of scoring by contributing eight rebounds and ten assists.

Benetton emerged from the loss with a three-three win-loss record and still qualifies for the Last 16. Decimated by the recent losses of extremely talent 19-year-old top-scorer Alessandro Gentile to Olimpia Milano and NBA player Brian Scalabrine, Benetton were not as dangerous as they had been earlier in the tournament, but received a welcome 22 points on 6-6 shooting from three point land by Jobey Thomas.

Bayern Munich 80-65 Cedevita

Bayern Munich finally gave their fans something to cheer about with a home win against another struggling side, Cedevita. Both failed to qualify for the Last 16, but Bayern, with their deep pockets and talented roster should be better next season.

Center Jarred Homan was dominant, posting 18 points and 11 rebounds, and front court buddy Chevon Troutman was also solid as he registered 13 and eight of his own.

KK Buducnost Voli 57-72 Alba Berlin

Alba Berlin finished their dominant regular season campaign with an easy 15-point win over KK Buducnost Voli. The losing side still managed a place in the Last 16 finishing with a 3-3 win-loss record.

Yassin Idbihi scored 21 for the Group H champs who surprisingly received a quiet performance from star point guard DaShaun Wood (four points, six assists).

Dexia Mons Hainaut 98-97 PGE Turow

In a game of no consequence, Dexia Mons Hainaut secured a one point win over PGE Turow. Neither side advances to the next round.

An exciting game nevertheless, Ronald Moore of Mons scored a put back bucket to tie the game at 74 each. 

Euroleague Round 9, Day 2

The game of the night was Montepaschi Siena against FC Barcelona Regal. Barca, undefeated prior to tip-off, lost in a thriller, 77-74.

Igor Rakocevic (21 points) and Pietro Aradori (20 points) were fantastic for Montepaschi and the victory gave the Italian side an outside sniff at first place in Group D.

Both teams battled hard and there was not even a whole lot separating the two statistically. Montepaschi shot 43% from two-point range while Barca shot 45%. Two percentage points separated their three-point percentage, Barca totaled one more rebound, one more assist and had only two more turnovers than Montepaschi.

In Group B, Brose Baskets faced off against Zalgiris Kaunas in a fight for the fourth position. Zalgiris came out on top behind 14 points from Sonny Weems and Vytenis Lipkevicius. The two also combined for nine assists.

Zalgiris is an average team at best, but Bamberg made them look like a tournament contender for stretches in this one. Sloppy rotations allowed the Lithuanian team to shoot well from three and their efforts on the offensive glass were vital at keeping Brose at bay during late moments.

A blowout at half-time, Bamberg fought their way back and brought it to single digits in the fourth, but their lack of size was again a problem. With only one real center, Tibor Pleiss, Bamberg struggles against bigger teams. I’ve mentioned far too often about Pleiss’ struggles and I don’t want to bash the NBA prospect any further, but he doesn’t impose himself at all and occasionally gets crushed rebounding the ball despite being one of the tallest guys on the floor. 

A close game for much of the first half, Maccabi Electra came out much stronger after the break and routed Anadolu Efes, 96-57. The game was a battle for second position in Group C, but Maccabi’s depth and talent ended up being far superior.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis was dominant in under 20 minutes of action. The center had his way with the Efes defense, scoring 17 points and grabbing five rebounds. The Greek national is quietly having a very solid campaign in a reduced role.

American born David Blu was also decent and the combo forward added 18 points of his own while point guard Keith Langford was exciting at times

Missing NBA player Ersan Ilyasova and leading scorer Tarence Kinsey, Efes was fairly depleted. Sascha Vujacic is having a solid Euroleague campaign (13 points, three rebound, two assist average), but he shot 4-11 shooting and 12 points for him.

Unics blew out Assecco Prokom 68-41. It’s not very often you see a professional team in any sports play like amateurs, but Assecco came dangerously close on Thursday night, scoring an incredible 11 first half points. The victory was somewhat expected considering Assecco has been one of the Euroleague’s worst teams this year (1-7 win-loss record) and allowed Unics to make a push for second place in Group D.

American born Bosnian national player, Henry Domercant, was the best player for Unics. The guard totaled 18 points, eight rebounds and shot 4-5 from downtown.

In another blowout, Olympiacos defeated Bennet Cantu 86-61 in a surprising win for the home team. Cantu came into the game second in Group A, separated only by point differential, but didn’t put up much of a fight. Cantu remains one of four teams now tied for first place in the division. With only the top four teams in group qualifying for the Top 16, Olympiacos improved their chances of making the next round dramatically and received a superb performance from former Houston Rocket, Vassilis Spanoulis. One of the elite players in the Euroleague competition (averaging 20 points and five assists per game), Spanoulis managed a game high 22 points and five assists.

Also in Group A action, Fenerbahce Ulker went down to Gescrap BB 70-80. D’or Fischer dominated for the visiting Gescrap side, hauling in a double-double performance with 16 points and 10 boards.

Follow Robert on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr

Euroleague Round 9: Wins For CSKA, Real Madrid

CSKA Moscow grabbed another Euroleague win in Week 9 play, this time against talented Greek side Panathinaikos. Undefeated thus far, CSKA used a strong second half to put Panathinkaikos away, eventually running away with a 91-75 win.

A victory for Panathinkaikos would have made the Group B standings quite interesting, but CSKA emerged as the better team with their frontcourt proving to be the difference maker. Nenad Krstic, Viktor Khryapa and Alexey Shved combining to score 49 points.

Krstic was dominant as usual, hauling in rebounds, hitting open jumpers from around 18 feet and scoring off easy looks from the attention his talent teammates required. He finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and shot 9-10 from the charity stripe.

Khryapa and Shved each scored 16 apiece. Always making things happen, Khryapa’s do-it-all game (seven rebounds, three assists) was impressive as usual and he used his IQ, body, and skill set to create not only for himself, but for others as well. Shved’s length and ability to create his own shot and finish off the dribble or with the jumper also proved to be too much for the defense as he made four from six from beyond the arc.

Former Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic was noticeably absent for stretches for the second consecutive game but played a better second half. He only finished with four points but controlled the offense brilliantly, handing out 10 assists to only two turnovers, including one ridiculous no-look pass from half court that hit Krstic under the ring after skipping about three defenders.

It was a pretty grim night for the visitors. Ian Vougioukas had a solid 17 points, but the big man didn’t do enough on the glass and finished with just a single rebound. Steven Smith was the only other significant contributor, finishing with 11 points.

Former High School All-American, and property of the Dallas Mavericks, Nick Calathes wasn’t impressive after his commendable run with Greek national team at Eurobasket this summer. His average play led to a rare but much appreciated Sarunas Jasikevicus sighting. The veteran from Lithuania (and former Indiana Pacer) didn’t play a whole lot but his passing ability and touch with the basket was a nice reminder of the player he once was.

Needing a win over Partizan Belgrade to wrap up Group C and advance to the Top 16, Real Madrid did just that, destroying their opponent in front of a home crowd, 101-83. 

Partizan, a solid team, could not keep up with Real’s fast paced offense and numerous scoring options. Sergio Rodriquez and Sergio Llull kept the ball moving on the break and in the half-court and received nice scoring nights from Nikola Mirotic and Jaycee Carroll.

Coming into the game averaging 16.9 points per game on a crazy 61% from beyond the arc, Carroll was brilliant again finishing with 23 points on four from six from downtown. Whether he’s left open or coming off screens, Carroll is deadly from distance and while the rest of his game is pretty limited he showed some decent ability scoring off the dribble and in transition. Watching him fire away is a thing of beauty and the former NCAA star couldn’t be stopped whilst going against a former NBA talent (more on that later).

Mirotic, the 23rd pick in this year’s NBA Draft, showed why the Chicago Bulls believe he could one day become an NBA player. Only 20-years-old with plenty of room to grow, Mirotic has the ability to be a solid stretch four with his nice post game and smooth outside jumper. He totaled 21 points and eight boards.

Sergio Rodriquez garnered comparisons to former All-Star Jason Williams during his short stint in the NBA, but he also has a lot of Steve Nash in him. His passing is creative and entertaining, throwing no-look lobs and passes from behind his head with not just stylish, but also effective. He finished with eight points and eight assists and his court vision provided continuous highlights in an otherwise dull game.

His backup, Sergio Llull, was also good and although he only managed five points and four assists, both men controlled the game in an effective, fast and entertaining manner.

The game was also the debut for Kyle Singler, a 23-year-old forward, who should right now be entering his first NBA training camp with the Detroit Pistons. Instead the shaggy haired NCAA Champion will play the season for Real and started in his first Euroleague appearance. Although he didn’t blow anyone away with his performance he was solid throughout and showcased an all-round skill set that will eventually become valuable to his side once he becomes better acclimated to his new surroundings.

Partizan was led by Milan Macvan, another young NBA prospect drafted this year by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Having a breakout season, the 22-year-old is averaging 15 points per game in the Euroleague and is a matchup nightmare, but not for the reasons most would suspect. Athletically, Macvan is average at best, but he has a thick body, high skill set and a great basketball IQ. He shoots well from outside and can get to the ring. It wasn’t Macvan’s best performance, but considering his team’s poor play, his 16 point effort was about the only highlight for the visitors.

I was quite excited to see former NBA point guard prospect Acie Law play, but his performance was one of the least impressive in this game. He lacked the necessary aggressiveness a point needs when his team is struggling to put points on the board and when he did shoot, a lot of those attempts were pretty weak. He did finish with 11 points on 2-2 from three point land, but I walked away disappointed, especially with his zero assists and five turnover stat line.

CSKA Moscow continues to look like the elite of the competition, blowing away another highly rated competitor. Undefeated, CSKA is good enough to win the tournament. While Real Madrid isn’t quite at the level CSKA is, they have a number of very dangerous weapons and play a style of basketball that could unseat a team like Moscow on any given night. Their win just about solidifies their position at the head of Group C and look to be another contender to watch out for in the Top 16.

Follow Robert on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr

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