EuroCup: Lokomotiv Kuban stands alone…
Lokomotive Kuban stands alone after EuroCup Week 3 as the only undefeated club in Last 16 play. Valencia Baskets was handed their first loss by winless Bilbao, and Budivelnik was handed a huge loss at home by Buducnost VOLI. It’s still too early to start handing out invitations to the Quarterfinals, but Week 4 could see a ticket or two be spoken for if things fall in place just right…
Week 3 brings a traffic jam at the top of Group I with three clubs sharing 2-1 records. Buducnost VOLI made the trip to Kiev to take on undefeated Budivelnik and came home with a thrilling 75:79 come-from-behind win and Banvit Bandirma sent Triumph Lyubertsy packing with an 0-3 record after an 86:79 defeat.
Budivelnik Kiev – Buducnost VOLI, 75:79
Budivelnik had built a 10-point margin heading into the final 10 off a 25:11 third frame, only to blow the lead by only mustering 10 points in the fourth, while allowing Buducnost to net 24.
Cedomir Vitkovac scored 24 and hauled in 10 boards for Buducnost, earning a PIR of 30 on the day and possible weekly MVP honors. Vladimir Mihailovic added 14.
Malcolm Delaney contributed 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists with a PIR of 25 for Budivelnik. Michailis Anisimov dropped in 17.
Banvit Bandirma – Triumph Lyubertsy, 86:79
Banvit Bandirma built a 14-point lead by halftime, but came unglued in the third and let Triumph back in the contest with a 14:28 quarter. Fortunately for the hosts, they pulled it together in the final frame and outscored the now 0-3 club from Lyubertsy and picked up their second win in Last 16 play with an 86:79 final tally.
Chuck Davis was game-high for Banvit with 26 points and 6 rebounds, building a PIR of 27 on the night. Kalin Lucas added 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Tasamin Mitchell led Triumph with 22 points and 8 rebounds, while Yuval Naimy added 20 points to the losing effort.
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Upsets were the theme of the night in Group J as VEF Riga came from down 10 with five minutes to play to beat CEZ Nymburk on their home court and undefeated Valencia fell hard to winless Uxue Bilbao by 16. This weeks results give Group J two clubs 2-1 records, while the other two sit at 1-2.
CEZ Nymburk – VEF Riga, 80:85
Nymburk was cruising to their second win holding on to a substantial 10-point margin with half a quarter to play when VEF Riga went on a long-ball frenzy, slicing the cords on four consecutive trips down the court from behind the arc. A 3:17 run turned the game upside down for the Latvian club, who’s record improves to 2-1, while the hosts fall to 1-2.
Kristaps Janicenoks paced the scoring for Riga with 16, Antanas Kavaliauskas added 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Radoslav Rancik was game-high for Nymburk with 18. Vojtech Hruban added 14.
Uxue Bilbao Basket – Valencia Basket, 91:76
It was a night for massive scoring runs as the two Spanish clubs in Group J squared off in Bilbao. Valencia came in sporting one of the only undefeated records in the Last 16 and got up big in the first half behind an 0:18 run in the second quarter that gave the guests an 11-point lead. Valencia might have let down their guard a bit after that and got over confident as they let Bilbao counter with a run of their own, to the tune of 23:4. The hosts wouldn’t relinquish the lead after that and tacked on a 10:2 spurt in the fourth to add some teeth to the 91:76 win. The victory was Bilbao’s first in the Last 16, now at 1-2, while Valencia falls to 2-1 and tied for the top spot with VEF Riga.
Bilbao got 14 points from four different players, Nikos Zisis, Milovan Rakovic, Alex Mumbru and Raul Lopez. Rakovic and Mumbru added 8 rebounds each and Lopez dished off 7 assists while earning a PIR of 26 on the night.
Thomas Kelati dropped in 20 points for Valencia, Bojan Dubljevic added 13 and Vitor Faverani contributed 12.
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Group K sports the only remaining undefeated club in Lokomotiv Kuban, who took to the road and handed Cajasol Seville their third loss in three games. Spartak St. Petersburg also picked up a road win in Poland with a very solid 69:89 rout of Stelmet Zielona Gora.
Stelmet Zielona Gora – Spartak SPB, 69:89
Spartak put this one in the books in the second quarter, outscoring Stelmet 8:24 in the second frame to head into the dressing rooms up 27:48. The Russian club put it on cruise control in the second half, protecting their now 2-1 record and earning a substantial point differential should a tie-breaker be needed as the Last 16 group play winds down.
Loukas Mavrokefalides was game-high with 19 points and 6 rebounds for Spartak, Vladimir Dragicevic added 16 points and 5 rebounds, Vasily Zavoruev added 11 points and 8 assists.
Dejan Borovnjak paced Stelmet with 17 points and 8 assists, Walter Hodge added 13 points.
Cajasol Seville – Lokomotiv Kuban, 80:87
Cajasol Seville looked as if they were headed to their first win in Last 16 group play when they took a 41:34 advantage into the break, but the lights they saw at the end of the tunnel weren’t daylight, it was the lights from the Lokomotiv Kuban heading straight at them. The visitors turned the contest around in the third quarter, outscoring their hosts 16:26 to take a three-point margin into the final 10, where they tacked on another four to finish the contest with an 80:87 victory. The win kept Kuban as the only undefeated club remaining in the Last 16, one win and some help from Spartak next week away from locking up a place in the quarterfinals.
Lokomotiv Kuban got 28 from Derrick Brown and 26 points and 9 rebounds from Aleks Maric.
Cajasol got 18 from Luka Bogdanovic and 14 from Joan Sastre.
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Entering Week 3, all four clubs in Group L had identical 1-1 records. With substantial wins by GS Medical Park and Unics Kazan in Week 3, the final three weeks will be very interesting as the tie breakers will most likely come into play when it comes time to determine which clubs head into the Quarterfinals.
GS Medical Park – Ratiopharm Ulm, 82:66
GS Medical Park got out to an early lead and never looked back as they won all four quarters on their way to an 82:66 home win over Ratiopharm Ulm. GS Medical Park improves to 2-1 on the Last 16 Group Play, while Ulm drops to 1-2.
Jamont Gordon led the victors with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.Carlos Arroyo added 15 points and 8 assists.
John Bryant’s 18 points and 7 rebounds were high for Ratiopharm.
Unics Kazan – Cr. Zvezda Telekom, 78:59
Unics Kazan improved to 2-1 in Last 16 group play with a 19-point home win over Red Star. The guests struck early, picking up a 10:16 advantage after the first quarter, only to allow Kazan to counter with a 26:19 margin in the second. Holding on to a slim one-point margin to open the third, the hosts had to take it the Serbian club and opened up a seven point margin in the quarter, eight-points overall, 40:32.
The final frame was all Unics as they outscored Red Star 18:7 and got critical win heading into the second half of Last 16 group play…
Kazan got 20 points from Mire Chatman and 16 from Chuck Eidson.
Red Star’s Elton Brown picked up 13 points, while team mate DeMarcus Nelson added 12.
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Lokomotiv should have standed alone long ago as his budget is crazy comparing to other clubs in that league.