Eurocup: penultimate round recap, Groups A-D
Week 9 of the Eurocup Regular Season has been completed and the clubs to play in the Last 32 are now taking shape. There has been plenty of drama along the way and Week 9 was no different as Groups A to D continued to provide surprise, tension, and excitment.
There is still plenty to play for in Group A where one Last 32 spot is up for grabs. Foxtown Cantu and Telenet Oostend have both qualified from the group already leaving Le Mans and CEZ Nymburk fighting it out for the remaining berth.
Oostend visited basement club Cibona Zagreb and came away with a road win that pushes the Belgian club to 7-2 in the group. With a losing head to head against top team Cantu, Oostend remains in second but has already secured passage to the next round. It was not an easy night for the Belgians though as they had to fend off a Cibona comeback in the second half to secure the victory.
Le Mans kept their Last 32 aspirations alive with a comfortable win over the Artland Dragons at home. The French team outscored their opponents by 21 points and restricted the German visitors to just 44 throughout the whole game. Joao Paulo Batista paced the winning effort with 15 points to put Le Mans in third place with a 5-4 record.
CEZ Nymburk claimed a moral boosting home win over group leader Foxtown Cantu to have a chance of qualifying for the Last 32 in the final week of the Eurocup Regular Season. Rasid Mahalbasic provided a 21-point and 9 rebound platform for Nymburk to win 86-74 over the Italian team. The Czech team needs Le Mans to lose next week and to claim a win to move into the next round.
Group B is still wide open with only Dinamo Banco Sardegna Sassari already assured of a Last 32 position. Four teams (from 2nd to 5th) can still claim a place in the next round, so expect week 10 of the Eurocup to be a nail biting week of action.
On Tuesday Chalon Sur Saone welcomed Bilbao Basket to France and defeated the Spanish team 81-79 to keep a Last 32 dream alive with a 4-5 record. Bilbao has struggled over the last few weeks but still has a chance of the next round with an equal 4-5 record after Week 9.
Ewe Baskets Oldenburg will still be confident of progressing to the next phase despite a shock home defeat at the hands of Spirou Charleroi. The visitors are out of the running in last place with a 2-7 record, but Oldenburg still holds second place, only now with a 5-4 record.
Cedevita Zagreb had a chance to heap pressure on EWE and all but book a place in the next round, but the Croatian club fell on the road to Dinamo Banco Sardegna Sassari. Despite the loss Zagreb moves up to third place with a 5-4 record, while Sassari´s grip on Group B tightens with a 7-2 record at the top of the table.
Union Olimpija Ljubljana and Ratiopharm Ulm are through to the next round of the Eurocup competition, but the last spot is very much still in the reckoning. Valencia and Lyon can all still claim a place in the Last 32 as Group C goes down to the wire.
Union Olimpija welcomed Ratiopharm to Ljubljana in a top of the table clash as both teams played for pride and for top spot in the group. The hosts emerged victorious 74-61 thanks to strong contributions from Jakov Vladovic (17 points), Deividas Gailius (11 points), and Dragisa Drobnjak (11 points). The win sees Union leapfrog Ulm at the top of the group with both teams holding a 7-2 record.
ASVEL Lyon lost an all French encounter by a narrow margin as the home team fell 72-74 to Paris Levallois. Despite the away win, Paris fell out of the running for a Last 32 place after Valencia also claimed a win on Thursday. ASVEL now face Valencia next week in a winner takes all clash that promises to be one of the picks for Week 10.
Valencia Basket remained in pole position for a the final Eurocup Last 32 place in Group C with a routine win over struggling Cimberio Varese. The Spanish club posted a strong 29 point final 10 minutes to claim a 62-94 win and put thirty points on Varese. Valencia now holds third spot with a 5-4 record, while Cimberio is rooted to the foot of the table with a dismal 1-8 record.
All that is left in Group D are the formalities of Week 10 in the Eurocup after the three Last 32 places in the group are now decided, with all of the groups games taking place on Tuesday.
Belgian outfit Belfius Mons Hainaut picked up just the second win of the Regular Season by turning over Telekom Basket Bonn at home. The hosts needed overtime to get the job done as the German visitors needed a victory to keep its Last 32 dreams alive. Despite a strong effort from Bonn the team is mathematically eliminated in 4th place with a 4-5 record. M. Hainaut has long been eliminated but the club improved its record to 2-7 at the bottom of the group.
Despite losing 83-81 on the road to Virtus Roma, CAI Zaragoza progressed to the Last 32 thanks to Bonn also slipping up in Belgium. The Spanish club led through much of the encounter, but the already eliminated hosts unleashed 27 points in the last quarter to seal a narrow victory. Zaragoza now occupies third place with a 5-4 record and will continue to play Eurocup Basketball this season.
ALBA Berlin visited BCM Gravelines Dunkerque in France on Tuesday in a clash that would decide which of the teams will top Group D. The German club claimed 72-83 win to secure position one in the group, with Vojdan Stojanovski hitting a game high 21 points for the winners. There was plenty of quality on display as Gravelines players Ousmane Camara netted 13 points and collected nine rebounds. ALBA now holds a 7-2 record at the top of the group and pushes BCM Gravelines down to second with 6-3.
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