The Eurocup Last 32 reached its critical midway point this week as the third round was completed around the continent. Form here all clubs will be looking to the standings to see how they are positioned to reach the next round, the first knockout stage.
There was plenty of action on Wednesday with twelve games around Europe.
Banvit Bandirma pushed past Ratiopharm Ulm 80-92 on the road in Germany, largely thanks to an explosive second half from the Turkish team. The visitors poured in 56 points in the second term to recover from a 38-36 losing position at the long break. Dominique Johnson led the win with 23 points, while Adrien Moreman added 21 points and 7 rebounds. Courtney Fortson doubled up with 18 points and 11 assists for Banvit.
Bayern Munich stayed undefeated in the Eurocup Last 32, but this time had to fight back to pass Bilbao Basket 76-78. The hosts from Spain had an inspired Dairis Bertans and his 27 points to lead the game 63-61 after thirty minutes, but Bayern rallied in the fourth act and edged the contest late on to move to 3-0 at the top of the group.
Strasbourg nursed its unbeaten Eurocup Last 32 record to 3-0 with a narrow 75-71 home win over Hapoel Jerusalem in France. Despite losing at halftime, the home team won the third act 24-14 to retake the lead heading to the fourth, and then saw the game out in the deciding period. Mardy Collins paced the win with 14 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists.
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas is finding its Eurocup groove again and on Wednesday the Spanish team welcomed Avtodor Saratov and wiped the hardwood with the Russians. A 101-77 win over strong opposition means the message was sent, even if the Spanish outfit did have home advantage. The game was rarely in doubt as Alen Omic led the Gran Canaria charge with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
Dolomito Energia Trento continued its solid progress with a classy 79-85 road win over Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir, the champion of Turkish Basketball. The Italians were made to work for their win in Turkey, but 49 points in the second half was a visiting scoring rate that Karsiyaka could not live with. Julian Wright was talismanic in the win as he compiled 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 scoring passes.
In another Turkey vs. Italy clash, Trabzonspor Medical Park downed Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia at home, the scoreboard reading 82-76 at the final buzzer. Dwight Hardy was the catalyst for success with 20 points in a well-rounded Trabzonspor attack. The hosts were stunned by a 17-31 Emilia charge in Q1, but recovered to take control of the game and look comfortable down the straight.
Zenit St. Petersburg is controlling Group L as the Russian club stayed unblemished courtesy of a 76-90 away cruise at Stelmet Zielona Gora. The guests took charge early and never looked back, using a substantial 24-43 first half cushion to see the game out despite losing the second half. Ryan Toolson netted 20 points in the win, while Janis Timma was good for 19 points.
MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg had too much for Umana Reyer Venice at home in Germany, winning their contest 94-84 in a solid game of hoops. A back and forth first half filled with plenty of action at the bucket ended in a single point deficit, Venice leading 44-45 at halftime. The home team responded in the third before pulling away in the fourth, fuelled by 17 points and 7 boards from Tekele Cotton.
In a battle for first place, Unics Kazan won 82-92 on the road to inflict Euroleague giant Maccabi Tel Aviv its first defeat of its Eurocup campaign. 49 points in the first half would sometimes be enough for Tel Aviv to be in control, but Unics was hot too and plundered 48 points to stay in touch. The guests edged ahead 68-71 after thirty minutes before easing through the fourth quarter to victory. Keith Langford was at his best with 30 points for the winning effort.
Nizhny Novgorod overcame Union Olimpija Ljubljana 73-79 away from home, with five players scoring double digits for the winning team. Rasid Mahalbasic doubled up with 13 points and 12 rebound as Nizhny dictated the pace and dominated long periods, only letting Union Olimpija back into the contest during the fourth quarter.
Galatasaray Istanbul got back to winning ways with a cruising 87-59 home win over Szolnoki Olaj in Turkey. The hosts were far too strong for the Polish guests, pacing to a 48-34 halftime lead before blitzing Olaj 39-25 through the second half. Blake Schilb led the victory with 24 points, but was arguably overshadowed by a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds from Stephane Lasme.
CAI Zaragoza won its second successive game with an 87-75 home win over Dinamo Banco Di Sardegna Sassari. The Spanish club looked to 21 points from Stevan Jelovac to set the scoring tone, but another four home players also managed double figures. After a narrow first frame, Zaragoza moved through the gears and never looked unduly troubled for the remainder of the game.