Eurocup Last 32: Valencia finally loses

Eurocup Last 32Eurocup Last 32 action reached its third week of the 2015/2016 season with four games opening the round of hoops on Tuesday. A full schedule across Group I and Group J saw those particular tables start to take shape, while there was plenty of excitement along the way.

The pick of the games came in Spain, where Valencia finally tasted defeat, with Limoges of France claiming the scalp. Both Thessaloniki clubs faced German opposition this week, but neither could muster a win. PAOK Thessaloniki was ripped at home by EWE Baskets Oldenburg in Group I, while Aris Thessaloniki fell on the road to ALBA Berlin in Group J.

Also in Group J, EA7 Milan outlasted Neptunas Klaipeda in Italy to pick up another Last 32 victory, its second of the campaign.

Group I
Valencia Basket vs. Limoges CSP, 72-92
Valencia Baskets so far unbeaten season came to a spectacular halt in Spain on Tuesday as Limoges visited and put together what must be the shock of the Eurocup Last 32 so far. Valencia’s twelve game unbeaten streak was snapped, but the club remains untouched in domestic competition and will still be in the mix at the business end of the continental season too. After tying the first half 44-44 Limoges exploded in the second half, leading 58-65 through thirty minutes the guests got the job done in style with a classy 14-27 finish in the fourth act.

Nobel Boungou-Colo led the winning team with 23 points, while Ali Traore and Will Daniels were both on touch for 18 points apiece.

Bojan Dubljevic topped a dejected Valencia with 16 points, followed by Justin Hamilton with 12 points.

PAOK Thessaloniki vs. EWE Baskets Oldenburg, 68-81
EWE Baskets Oldenburg bounced back from its defeat to Valencia last week by crushing PAOK Thessaloniki on the road to show it is still a threat in Group I. The German team moved to 2-1 alongside Valencia, while PAOK was handed its second successive defeat in front of the Greek fans. A tight first quarter saw Oldenburg lead by a single point, 15-16, but the guests put together a 13-27 second frame fuelled by a 2-12 run. In the second half the German visitors pulled away in the third before weathering a brief PAOK rally in the fourth to see out the game.

Brian Qvale led the winners with 15 points and 6 rebounds, while Chris Kramer added 12 points and Vaughn Duggins chipped in with 11 points and 7 assists.

Will Hatcher paced the losing effort with a game high 17 points, while Nikola Markovic grabbed the only double-double of the game with 11 points and 13 boards.

Group J
ALBA Berlin vs. Aris Thessaloniki, 82-67
ALBA Berlin raced past Aris Thessaloniki in the German capital to win its second consecutive Eurocup Last 32 game to move to 2-1 in Group J. Greek club Aris cannot grab consistent form and the team sits on a 1-2 record with all of course still to play for. ALBA’s 21-20 winning first act was enough to last the half as the hosts headed into the long break with a one point lead, the scoreboard reading 38-37. Aris addressed the balance in the third stanza, using a 20-21 score to tie proceedings at the final split, the game locked at 58-58. With all to play for the Berlin contingent moved up a gear and buoyed from home fans stopped Thessaloniki at 9 points in the fourth while plundering 24 points at the offensive end.

Elmedin Kikanovic stood out for Berlin with his 22 points, but the game went to Dragan Milosavljevic with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while he went close to a triple double with 9 assists.

Dominic Waters and Jerel McNeal were in rich scoring form as they hit 20 points each for Aris.

EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Neptunas Klaipeda, 79-71
After toiling in the Euroleague earlier this season, Milan looks much more comfortable in the Eurocup Last 32. The Italians defeated Neptunas Klaipeda, always a tricky prospect, at home to join ALBA Berlin on 2-1 in the standings. The hosts dominated large parts of the first half and the Italian champs were awarded with a 41-32 halftime lead. Neptunas has proved a team with fighting spirit and the visitors retook the lead (53-54) through thirty minutes thanks to a spirited third act. Milan has been known to crumble late on, but the home team rallied in the fourth and swept past Klaipeda in the closing minutes.

Krunoslav Simon and Jamel McLean led the winners with 15 points apiece, followed by 13 points from Milan Macvan.

Jerai Grant paced Neptunas with 15 points, while Daniel Ewing and Donatas Zavackas scored 14 points.

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