Eurocup: Thessaloniki clubs win and lose

EurocupThere were two contests in the Eurocup on Tuesday, ushering in the week’s action for Round 2 of the Last 32 in the 2015/2016 season.

The two Thessaloniki clubs, PAOK and Aris, were in action during the evening, but the rivals had contrasting games. PAOK downed Limoges in a relatively easy home win in Thessaloniki in Group I, while Aris travelled outside Greece to play Milan in Italy and were dealt a beating at the hands of the Euroleague dropout in Group J.

Group I
PAOK Thessaloniki vs. Limoges, 88-75
In Group I Valencia looks formidable and EWE Baskets Bamberg sent a message last week, so Limoges and PAOK need to make the most of their opportunities. Greek home team PAOK got the memo it seems as they recorded a comfortable home win over Limoges to stay on the tail of the group’s two danger teams.

The hosts never really looked in trouble here, taking the first quarter 24-19 to get the scoreboard rolling and the home support roaring. In the second frame PAOK continued to press and a 23-17 winning stanza ensured a cruising 47-36 lead through the long break. Limoges were out of touch and could not muster a rally, instead letting Thessaloniki take the third act 26-23 to lead 73-59 after thirty minutes on the hardwood. In the fourth the hosts kept it tight and professional, which was enough to ease to victory down the stretch.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis led five PAOK players in double figures with 19 points and Nikola Markovic added 17 points and 8 rebounds. Kostas Vasileiadis matched that rebound haul while adding 15 points, followed by Will Hatcher with 14 points and Milenko Tepic with 13 points.

Ali Traore topped Limoges with 18 points, while Bo McCaleb was good for 16 points.

Group J
EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Aris Thessaloniki, 95-54
Milan suffered a pretty torrid Euroleague Regular Season and lost on its 2015/2016 Eurocup debut last week. However, the Italian champs finally clicked on the continent and smashed Aris Thessaloniki at home, putting more than 40 points on the visiting Greek team in the process.

The hosts were sensational in the first half and during the opening period advanced to a 24-17 lead. In the second stanza Milan exploded with stunning offensive Basketball, the shackles of poor European form finally shed as the Italians plundered 33 points. It was impressive at the other end too as Aris was kept to 10 points, allowing Milan to take a 57-27 lead at halftime. After such an effort the inevitable lull followed in the third as Thessaloniki restored some pride to win the act. However, through thirty minutes Milan led 71-42 and completed a stunning win in Q4 with a blazing 24-12 run.

Six Milan players scored 10 or more points, starting with Milan Macvan with 16 points. Following behind were Alessandro Gentile with 13 points and Olivier Lafayette and Charles Jenkins with 12 points apiece, the latter adding 9 boards to his haul.

Dominic Waters topped the losing effort with 12 points.

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