Eurocup, three clubs through to next round

EurocupThe Eurocup Last 32 is now starting to take shape after Round 4 played out around the continent this week. Bayern Munich, Lokomotiv Kuban, and Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir stayed undefeated at this stage and moved to the next round, while Gran Canaria and current Eurocup champs Valencia bounced back from defeats last week.

There was plenty of hoops drama on Wednesday as Unics Kazan took control in Group G with a win over compatriot Zenit St. Petersburg in an all-Russian clash. A nail biting encounter between Cedevita Zagreb and Acea Roma went to overtime, but still the clubs could only be separated by a single point.

Group G
Unics Kazan travelled to Zenit St. Petersburg in this Russian derby and came away with a 65-77 win that pushed the club to the top of Group G (3-1). Zenit held second place despite defeat and now holds a 2-2 record. A 2-14 run either side of halftime put Unics in control, while Keith Langford remained consistent at the bucket to snatch 25 points for the winners. CEZ Nymburk was on the edge of elimination, but the Czech club saved its Eurocup campaign with a 72-66 win over visiting French team Strasbourg. It was Nymburk’s first Last 32 win and puts them on 3-1, while Strasbourg drops to third with 2-2.

Group H
Herbalife Gran Canaria was stripped of its 12 game winning run last week, but the Spanish club responded well in Round 4 with a 91-80 home success over Banvit Bandirma. After this result Herbalife Gran Canaria tops the group (3-1) while Banvit drops to 2-2. The hosts were losing by five points through three quarters, but a 32-16 run in the final act handed the Spaniards a big win. Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari strode to a comfortable 87-70 home win over Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in Italy on Wednesday. David Logan and Olaseni Lawal took 14 points and 7 rebounds each to pace the Sassari contingent as the hosts controlled much of the game.

Group I
A bucket for bucket encounter in Zagreb saw Cedevita defeat Virtus Roma 91-90, but needed overtime to get the job done. The hosts were trailing with seconds remaining, but a sleek attacking play saw Tomislav Zubcic feed Luka Babic for a slam with 2.4 seconds on the clock. With the game tied it went to overtime, where the home team held on with Roma missing an attempt on the buzzer. Bilan and Stanko Barac both hit double-doubles for the winning team. Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd overcame CAI Zaragoza 71-82 on the road to join Roma on 2-2 behind Cedevita on 3-1. As for Spanish club Zaragoza, it remains in the hunt despite being last in Group I with a 1-3 record.

Group J
Khimki Moscow Region put a 100 on the board on the way to crushing PAOK Thessaloniki 102-68 in the Russian capital on Wednesday. The hosts are seven from seven at home in the Eurocup this season and went ahead midway through the first stanza and never looked back. The winners posted 27 assists on the night as Petteri Koponen led the scoring with 21 points. AV Cantu edged CSP Limoges 68-57 at home in the other game from Group J. a 41-24 score at the long break was enough to give Cantu the win, despite a losing second half, while Darius Odom-Johnson paced the winning effort with 24 points and 8 boards. The win locked the clubs on 2-2, both fighting to reach Khimki at the top of the standings (3-1).

Group K
Bayern Munich stayed undefeated in the Eurocup this season with a 90-84 home success over Union Olimpija Ljubljana to progress to the next round. The hosts won a high scoring first half 51-43 and edged the game down the straight to claim a fourth consecutive win. Bayern had plenty of success from the charity strip, nailing 17 from 21 attempts (81%) and John Bryant made 17 points and 7 rebounds on the night for the Germans. Brose Baskets Bamberg got back to winning ways and climbed to 2-2 after defeating JDA Dijon 56-86 on the road. The Germans put 30 points on their French hosts in a dominant display, controlling the hardwood for long spells of the contest.

Group L
Sevilla grabbed its first win of the Eurocup Last 32 this season with an 88-82 win over Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. The Spanish club stays in the competition with a 1-3 record, one game away from Lietuvos Rytas on 2-2. It was a moral boosting win for the hosts as they drained 30 points in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. PGE Turow stays in control of Group L after a 79-80 win over Telenet Oostende in Belgium. The Polish champions struggled against Oostende’s John Prince as he plundered 19 points and remained among the top scorers in the competition. However, the visitors had their own go to guy in the form of Mardy Collins, who had a stunning game with 28 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.

Group M
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir punched its ticket to the Eighthfinals with an 86-79 home win over Paris-Levallois in Turkey. The club stays unblemished at this point of the tournament and tops Group M with a 4-0 record, while Paris dropped to 1-3 at the foot of the table. The visitors held a two point advantage heading into the fourth act, but Izmir showed class down the straight to take the victory at the end. Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul started slow and trailed by 21 points in the second quarter during their game against Neptunas Klaipeda. In the end though, the Turkish club managed to turn the tide and won the game 80-78 in front of its home fans. Besiktas moved to 2-2 ahead of Neptunas on 1-3.

Group N
After two consecutive defeats, Valencia Baskets got its Eurocup title defence back on track with a big 84-100 win over CSU Asesoft Ploiesti away from home. It was enough to give Valencia second place in Group N to itself (2-2), with Ploiesti on 1-3. The visitors looked to 19 points apiece from Romain Sato and Pau Ribas, while Sato also added 7 boards and Ribas 6 scoring passes. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar is in the next round after winning its fourth consecutive game at this stage and its fourteenth overall in the competition this season. The Russian club swept aside Nancy 85-70 at home to progress.

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