Three games ushered in events in the Eurocup this week as Round 8 of the Regular Season got underway. We are at the stage of the first group phase where the standings are being decided and places in the Last 32 are bring decided. With that in mind, could any of the six clubs competing today punch their tickets to the next stage of the Eurocup?
Yes is the simple answer, with Dolomiti Energia Trento progressing from Group A with stirring overtime win over Nanterre in France. The other two contests took place in Group F, where Nizhny Novgorod punched its Last 32 ticket with a home win over AEK Athens. In the other Group F encounter, Hapoel Jerusalem re-ignited its campaign with a win over leaders Galatasaray at home.
Dolomiti Energia Trento edged JSF Nanterre in overtime 79-85 on the road, and in doing so the Italian team progressed to the Last 32. The club moved to 6-1 for at least share of first place in Group A in the Eurocup this week, while Nanterre’s position is more precarious as the club is fifth on a 3-5 record, although the French outfit still has it all to play for in the final two rounds of the Regular Season.
Nanterre fought back from a 33-37 losing first half to hold a 55-52 lead through thirty minutes, before Trento rallied in the fourth act to tie the game 74-74 at the end of regulation time. In the added overtime period the visitors, fuelled by Julian Wright, made it a two bucket game and claimed the win.
Wright was huge in the win, posting a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds, while also adding 3 steals.
Mykal Riley led Nanterre with 24 points and 5 assists, Mam Jaiteh totaled 14 points and 8 boards, and Brian Greene scored 10.
Nizhny Novgorod proved its fighting spirit to down AEK Athens in Russia on Tuesday, a victory that sent the club roaring into the Last 32. Nizhny now occupies second place in Group F, behind already qualified Galatasaray with a 5-3 record. AEK remains in the mix at 4-4 in fourth place at the moment, and will hold at least that position come the end of the week.
A consistent AEK effort in the first half saw the guests plunder 25 points in the first frame and then 27 points in the second to look comfortable at the long break, the scoreboard reading 44-52. Nizhny started clicking at both ends of the hardwood in the third act and a 19-11 run ensured the game was locked 63-63 at the final split. In the fourth quarter the hosts used the momentum to overwhelm Athens and cruise to victory.
Victor Rudd was good for 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 dimes in the winning effort, followed by Ivan Strebkov with 15 points and a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds for Kaspars Berzins.
Dimitrios Mavroeidis was a game maker for AEK and was the best player on the court tonight, hitting a double-double of 26 points and 10 boards in the loss. Malik Hairston was also in solid touch with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Hapoel Jerusalem breathed life into its Eurocup campaign by handing Galatasaray Istanbul just its second loss of the season in an 86-82 home success. The loss does little to harm Turkish club Galatasaray, the team has already qualified for the Last 32 and still hold top spot in Group F (6-2). The win does plenty for Jerusalem’s hopes though, the Israeli club now on 3-5 in fifth place and hot on the heels on AEK Athens in the race for qualification.
Consistent scoring from both teams meant that buckets and the lead were traded for the entire first half, with the players heading to the locker room with the score at 43-43 at halftime. The parity did not last in the third quarter as Hapoel Jerusalem upped its output with a 25-21 run that made it 68-64 to the hosts with 10 minutes to play. In the closing act the teams returned to equality and an 18-18 frame handed the home team a much needed win.
Earl Rowland posted 21 points and 6 assists in victory, while Josh Duncan claimed 17 points, 14 points and 6 assists, and Matt Janning 13 points.
Eric McCollum set the scoring tone for Galatasaray with 18 points, but Joey Dorsey stood out with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds.