EuroCup: Regular season undefeateds fall

When the 2012-13 EuroCup regular season ended, there were three undefeated clubs that had won their groups: Uxue Bilbao Basket, BC Triumph Lyubertsy, and Spartak St. Petersburg. If any of them had aspirations of running the table in both the regular season and the Last 16, those thoughts were dashed this week as all three clubs were beaten and two of them were beaten badly.

Group I
BC Budivelnik Kiev – Banvit Bandirma BK, 76:69
Banvit Bandirma BK took control of their Week 1 road contest with BC Budivelnik, getting out 31:39 at the half. Budivelnik made some impressive adjustments during the intermission and came out with some fire under them as they outscored their visitors 26:15 in the third frame to take the lead heading into the last quarter, 57:54. The hosts used the long-ball in the fourth to pull away, dropping in three triples early in the frame to put some distance between them and Banvit. This one wasn’t over until inside the last minute though as the visitors kept coming all the way to the final buzzer.

Kiev was led by Leo Lyons with 15 points and nine rebounds. Dainius Salenga added 14 points and Artur Drozdov dominated the glass, hauling in 10 total rebounds on the game.

Chuck Davis had a game-high 21 points for Bandirma, and Sammy Mejia added 13.

KK Buducnost VOLI – BC Triumph Lyubertsy, 90:69
KK Buducnost VOLI sent a message loud and clear to Group I that they showed up to the Last 16 ready to play. They welcomed EuroCup regular season Group C winner BC Triumph Lyubertsy to Montenegro for their Week 1 Last 16 contest and sent the previously undefeated Russian club home with a 21-point rout.

The contest was tight through the first half, with the hosts holding on to a three-point margin heading into the dressing rooms at the half, 47:44. Buducnost took control late in the third quarter, starting a scoring run that lasted into the fourth quarter and when Triumph had finally snapped their scoring drought, their hosts had run off 15 unanswered points and had iced the contest.

Cedomir Vitkovac’s 24 points, 12 rebounds and PIR of 40 should be good enough to earn him Week 1 MVP honors for Buducnost, but it was certainly good enough to help his club win a key contest early in the Last 16 round. Aleksa Popovic added 17 points and six rebounds to the win.

Tasamin Mitchell dropped in 20 points for Lyubertsy and Tywain McKee added 18 points and eight rebounds to the losing effort.

Group I

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Group J
Valencia Basket – VEF Riga, 86:82
Valencia Basket got a huge game from Rafa Martinez, who dropped in 27 points to lead the regular season Group D winner over VEF Riga, 86:82 at home. The hosts didn’t have it easy in this one though as their guests put on an 0:15 run in the second quarter to build a 10-point margin in the first half, eventually heading into the break at the half up 39:45. Valencia tried to put the game away in the third quarter with an 18-1 scoring outburst of their own to head into the final 10 up 67:58. Riga fought back though and had themself to within three points with just over a minute to play. The hosts got a key triple and then a four-point play iced the contest.

Martinez’s 27 led all scorers and paced Valencia to their first win. Bojan Dubljevic and Justin Doellman added 14 points each to the win.

Earl Rowland tallied 21 points and nine assists for VEF Riga, and Donatas Zavackas added 18 points in the loss.

Uxue Bilbao Basket – CEZ Basketball Nymburk, 83:85
Uxue Bilbao Basket also fell to the curse of the undefeateds, as CEZ Nymburk held them off at the end to pick up an 83:85 win in Spain. Bilbao got themselves down by 10 to start the fourth quarter and ended up outscoring their guests 30:22 in the last frame, but it wasn’t enough and the Undefeated Group B winners in the regular season missed a golden opportunity to open the Last 16 with a win against a tough opponent.

Radoslav Rancik had a game-high 30 points and seven rebounds with a PIR of 30 to lead Nymburk. Drew Naymick added 20 points and seven rebounds.

Alex Mumbru dropped in 13 points for Bilbao and Lamont Hamilton added 12 points and seven rebounds to the loss.

Group J

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Group K
Spartak St. Petersburg – PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 70:84
Coming in off a 6-0 run through Group G in the regular season, Spartak St. Petersburg had to have a high confidence level, especially with opening the Last 16 competition at home. Lokomotiv Kuban came in and spoiled the party with a convincing 70:84 win over the fellow Russian club.

Kuban opened the game with a huge 10:26 first frame, to set the tone. The hosts fought back early in the second 10 running off 17 straight points to take the lead, 27:26, but the guests finally found the cords and countered with a 0:9 run of their own. They ended up giving up five in the quarter (23:18) to head into the break up 11, 33:44. The visitors would never let go of the lead from that point on and they were able to claw their way to a 14-point road victory to open the Last 16 with a 1-0 record, while Spartak loses their first EuroCup game in the 2012-13 competition.

Lokomotiv Kuban had five players in double figures, with Derrick Brown leading the way with 21. Simas Jasaitis added 15 points and seven rebounds.

Loukas Mavrokefalides paced the hosts with 20 points and nine rebounds, and Zach Wright added 16 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Stelmet Zielona Gora – Cajasol Seville, 76:67
Stelmet Zielona Gora got it’s trip through the Last 16 round off to a good start with a come-from-behind win over Cajasol Seville, 76:67. The visitors had built a 32:39 margin at the half, only to have the seven-point margin disappear during a 25:18 third quarter to knot the score at 57 heading into the final 10. Stelmet used an 8:0 run in the fourth to pull away and secure the club’s first ever win in EuroCup Last 16 competition.

Walter Hodge had a game-high 34 points on near perfect shooting as he connected on 7 for 7 from inside the arc, 4 for 4 at the free throw line, and 3 of 6 behind the arc. He also added six assists and three steals to his tally, to turn in an overall performance that earned him a 34 PIR, the second highest turned in during Week 1. Dejan Borovnjak added 16 points to the win.

John Holland paced Cajasol with 17 points, Joan Sastre added 15, and Latavious Williams contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Group K

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Group L
Ratiopharm Ulm – Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, 95:100
If Week 1 is any indication, Group L is going to provide EuroCup fans it’s fair share of excellent competition during the Last 16. Ratiopharm Ulm and Red Star locked horns on Wednesday and took their first match up down to the final seconds, with the Serbian club coming out with their first win, on the road.

The two clubs traded mini scoring runs of seven and six runs, then exchanged baskets, many of the long-range variety, for the better part of the first quarter to give Crvena Zvezda a one-point advantage after the first 10. The visitors ran off nine unanswered early in the second to get up 27:38. By the end of the first half Red Star was sitting with a nine-point margin, 39:48.

The clubs played evenly during the third, coming out of the first 30 with the scoreboard showing the guests now up by 11, 58:69. Ulm roared back during the first three minutes of the final frame, outscoring their visitors 10:2 to get to within three, 68:71. Red Star managed to pull away a bit, 84:93, with just over 120 seconds to play, but nine quick points by Ulm cut the gap to three with 20 ticks left. Crvena Zvezda hit their free tosses and played solid defense in the last minute to keep Ulm from tallying points, to earn their well deserved win.

Igor Rakocevic led the game with 32 points and a PIR of 29, Elton Brown added 18 points and 10 rebounds to the win.

John Bryant paced the Ratiopharm Ulm contingent with 20 points, 12 rebounds and a PIR of 27.

Galatasaray Medical Park – Unics Kazan, 74:80
Unics Kazan picked up an important win on the road in their quest to move out of the Last 16 when they traveled to Istanbul to square off against Galatasaray Medical Park. The Russian squad used a late 2:11 run to secure their first win in the tough Group L, 74:80.

Galatasaray won the first frame 20:16, but had it not been for a buzzer beater by Kostas Kaimakoglou from long-range the gap would have been even larger. Kazan was able to put a couple of scoring runs together to cut the gap in half and head into the locker room only down one, 36:35, at the intermission.

The hosts ran off five unanswered to open the third, which was countered by Unics to give them their first lead of the night. The clubs played evenly through the third 10 to come out with Unics still down by one, only 19 points richer, 55:54.

Galatasaray was able to extend their lead slightly to 67:64, but Kazan got the boost they needed from Chuck Eidson and ran off a scoring drive of 2:11, of which Eidson accounted for nine. The hosts weren’t done, as they kept fighting to the end, but they just couldn’t bridge the gap.

Eidson had a game-high 23 points and added four assists to help him amass a PIR of 29 on the day for Unics Kazan. Ian Vougioukas added 17 points and seven rebounds to earn a PIR of 26.

David Hawkins dropped in 20 points for Galatasaray, and Erwin Dudley contributed 16 points and six rebounds.

Group L

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