Eurocup: Valencia stays undefeated

EurocupTuesday’s Round 7 Regular Season action in the Eurocup saw four contest take place from Group A, Group B, Group C, and finally Group F. The day included a win for Union Olimpija Ljubljana in Group A over Nanterre, and Ludwigsburg handing Gran Canaria a loss in Group B.

In Group C Valencia looked unstoppable with a win over Zaragoza, while in Group F Neptunas Klaipeda tamed Hapoel Jerusalem.

Group A
Union Olimpija Ljubljana recovered from a shaky start while playing host to Nanterre and ultimately overcame the French visitors 78-65. The victory means both teams now sit on 3-4 records and by the end of play this week with be tied for either third or fourth in Group A.

Nanterre stunned the Ljubljana faithful in the opening quarter with a 15-28 charge that looked to have sent a clear message. However, the hosts showed plenty of grit to mount a recovery, claiming the second frame 20-9 to make it a two point game through halftime (35-37). Union Olimpija continued the momentum in the third and by the time the thirty minute buzzer sounded the home team led 58-52. The fightback was completed in the fourth term as Ljubljana used a 20-13 run to win the contest in style.

Miha Lapornik paced the winning effort with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Sava Lesic grabbed 15 points.

Mykal Riley claimed a double-double despite Nanterre losing, his 24 points and 10 boards keeping the guests in the game. Mam Jaiteh plundered 17 points in the loss.

Group B
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas was handed its second loss of the Eurocup season by falling 92-89 after overtime on the road to MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg. This was the second time Gran Canaria slipped to German opposition after a loss at ALBA Berlin in Round 3, while Ludwigsburg’s win gave them a share of top spot in the group alongside the Spaniards (5-1).

After edging the first frame by a single point, the hosts put daylight on the score board in the second stanza to claim a 44-36 lead at the long break. The visitors knuckled down in the third act and some solid offensive plays paid off as through thirty minutes the game was locked at 55 points apiece. A big fourth quarter followed as both teams poured in 26 points to tie the game 81-81 at the regulation buzzer. In the added period Ludwigsburg found an extra gear to win the game.

Tekele Cotton topped the German club with 20 points, followed by Mustafa Shakur with 19 points. Jon Brockman took a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Kevin Pangos was the attacking threat for Gran Canaria, hitting a game high 31 points and laying on 6 scoring passes.

Group C

Valencia’s charge continued in Group C as the club claimed a 76-84 away win over CAI Zaragoza in an all-Spanish clash. The Eurocup giant has already qualified for the Last 32 but enhanced its position in first place here to 7-0, the only unbeaten record in the Eurocup this season. Zaragoza is second with a 4-3 record.

Valencia hit 50 points in an impressive first half, but while the hosts were slick in attack they also put in a shift in defence, allowing 40 Zaragoza points for a 10 point halftime advantage. That lead was consolidated through the third as the teams tied 20-20 for Valencia to lead 60-70 at the final split. The guests were just too strong in the fourth quarter and held off any charge from the hosts to stroll to victory.

Justin Hamilton set the tone for Valencia with 20 points and 7 boards, while Antoine Diot added 15 points and Rafa Martinez 13 points.

Zaragoza looked to Halil Kanacevic and Henk Norel, who scored 13 points each.

Group F
Neptunas Klaipeda continued its solid Eurocup campaign with an 87-85 home win over struggling Hapoel Jerusalem. The Lithuanian home team moves to 4-3 for at least a share of third place this week, while Jerusalem slips to 2-5, the Israeli club out of the qualification spots at this stage.

A 27-16 run in the first frame gave the hosts plenty of breathing space and by halftime the score was 51-37 and Neptunas was coasting. However, the Lithuanians would need that breathing space in the second half as Hapoel Jerusalem rallied in the fourth quarter, a 19-27 winning frame fuelling a comeback that rocked the hosts. However, Klaipeda held on in the closing stages and took the win.

Daniel Ewing stood out in the win with 20 points, while Travis Bader added 16 points and Harvey Grant 15 points.

Fischer D’Or was hot for the losing effort as he nailed a game high 26 points, followed by Earl Rowland with 19 points. Donta Smith claimed the sole double-double of the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

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