The 2015/2016 Eurocup Regular Season has reached its midway point with five games played in the group stage so far. Around the old continent there were tight games aplenty across groups A through F, and this round produced arguably the fiercest competition of the tournament so far this term.
Union Olimpija Ljubljana (2-3) failed to reignite its Eurocup Regular Season as the club slipped to an 81-82 home loss courtesy of EWE Baskets Bamberg (2-3). Union Olimpija ultimately paid for a poor 16-24 lost in the first frame and could never recover enough, although a 23-17 rally in the fourth act meant it went to the wire, but the 17-2 streak could not be extended and Vaughn Duggins drained to hand Bamberg the win.
Dominion Bilbao Basket traveled Trento and came away with a 75-80 win from the Italians. The Spanish club moved to 3-2 with success, while Trento is also sitting on the same record. The visitors were in control through thirty minutes, the score reading 52-64, and despite a mini rally from the hosts Bilbao won the game at a canter. Clevin Hannah paced the winners with 22 points.
ALBA Berlin locked with Gran Canaria (4-1) at the top of Group B with a 68-72 win over winless Enel Brindisi on the road. The Germans led for much of the game after blitzing the hosts in the second quarter as Brindisi struggled to get to grips with the ALBA offence, which was propelled by Dragan Milosavljevic with 22 points. The Italians improved and won the second half, but Berlin could close out the game with some tight defense in the fourth.
Ratiopharm Ulm took sole charge of third place in Group C with a comfortable 90-73 home win over Sluc Nancy, allowing the Germans to improve to 3-2, while Nancy drops to 1-4. The hosts had carved a 38-32 lead at halftime but contended with a Nancy fightback in the third that made it 56-55 through thirty minutes. In the final frame Ulm responded with a huge 34 point haul that killed the game.
Valencia Basket remains unbeaten at the top of Group C (5-0) at the midway point of the Eurocup Regular Season. The Spanish team swept aside Proximus Spirou Charleroi 49-65 on the road to leave the Belgians winless (0-5). Valencia looked in control throughout, building on a 28-33 halftime lead during a slick second half to make the win a formality.
CAI Zaragoza stayed one step behind Valencia with a spirited 77-79 away win over Umana Reye Venice on Wednesday. The victory sent CAI to 4-1 in sole possession of second place, while Venice slips to 2-3, but still holds the all-important fourth spot in the standings. The Zaragoza players made it tough for themselves by letting a seven point advantage through the long break ebb away in the second half. However, the visitors held on late in the contest to wrap up the success.
Unics Kazan had too much for Trabzonspor at home, with the Russians easing to a 78-64 victory in front of home support. The win got the Kazan outfit back on track on 3-2 with Trabzonspor and Aris Thessaloniki. Keith Langford was his typical clinical self for Unics as he contributed 15 points, while Latavious Williams added a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. The game was close through three frame, the hosts leading 52-50 before exploding in the fourth with a 26-14 stanza that won the game.
Banvit Bandirma got back on course this Eurocup Regular Season with a strong 96-84 home win over Aris Thessaloniki, which put the Turks on 2-3 and back in the mix. Gasper Vidmar was a driving force in the winning effort as he put together a memorable double-double of 24 points and 12 boards for Banvit. However, even Vidmar was outdone by Courtney Fortson’s triple-double game as the American provided 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists for the winners… it was just the sixth triple-double in Eurocup history.
Steaua Bucharest grabbed its second win as the Romanians defeated Buducnost VOLI Podgorica at home by 81-75. The hosts lead 19-12 through the first split and then a 24-17 second quarter ensured a 43-29 lead at halftime. Buducnost woke up with a stellar 15-25 run in the third act that made it 58-54 heading to Q4. In the closing period he teams went at the bucket, with Steaua holding on for the win.
Zenit St. Petersburg continues to be a formidable opponent as the Russians stayed unblemished at the top of Group E with an 82-58 destruction of Besiktas Istanbul at home. The visitors kept up with Zenit in the first stanza and led 22-23 after ten minutes. However, the consistency of the hosts told in the following frames and after thirty minutes St. Petersburg led 70-40 and was able to cruise down the straight in the fourth quarter.
PAOK Thessaloniki (2-3) kept in touch in the standings with an encouraging 81-76 home win over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius of Lithuania (1-4). Kostas Vasileiadas was instrumental in the success as he added 26 points and 8 boards, but William Hatcher was an able deputy with 17 points of his own. PAOK nearly squandered the chance as the visitors opened a 55-57 lead after thirty minutes, but a 26-19 winning Q4 settled the contest in favour of the Greek team.
Szolnocki Olaj (1-4) grabbed its first win of the season after five weeks of play by downing Avtodor Saratov (3-2) 83-79 at home. It was a shock result for the Polish team as the Russian guests have been in good form and are pushing near the top of the standings. The hosts were massive in the first half, compiling a 44-36 lead through the long break, and then in the second half Olaj simply contained the game.
AEK Athens continued to have a solid Eurocup campaign with an 80-86 road win over Neptunas Klaipeda in Lithuania. The win pushed AEK to 3-2 behind Galatasaray in second place, while Neptunas slipped to 2-3 in fifth place. Loukas Mavrokfalidis drove the success with 27 points and 8 boards, he continues to be a major player for the Athens team and will be important in the coming weeks.
Hapoel Jerusalem and Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd went hot through the nets, with Jerusalem finally emerging with a 92-90 home success. The hosts unloaded 51 points in the first half for a 51-44 lead through halftime, but Krasny roared back in the second half, but still the Russians fell short at the end of an exciting and high octane game.