Eurocup week 1 roundup

EurocupThe 2015/2016 Eurocup season is open for business, and what a hugely busy first week it has been. Eighteen games took place around the continent on Tuesday and Wednesday, and in typical Eurocup fashion there were thrilling Basketball spectacles aplenty.

Big wins, tight nerve wracking contests, broken records, and a whole lot more greeted fans who were treated to some fantastic hoops during the two days.

Group A
Group A of the Eurocup 2015/2016 threw up a German derby in game 1 as Telekom Baskets Bonn bested EWE Baskets Oldenburg 88-77 at home. The game was tight through thirty minutes, but the hosts used an 8-0 run in the fourth to move ahead and secure the win. Eugene Lawrence scored a game high 17 points in the win.

JSF Nanterre defeated Dominion Bilbao Basket 73-76 on the road in Spain to open its win account for the season. Terrance Campbell was strong in the winning effort as he shot 5 from 7 at three points distance and plundered 21 points overall. Mam Jaiteh doubled up in the win with 14 points and 14 rebounds and helped Campbell fuel a 0-9 run in the closing frame to snatch a road success.

Union Olimpija Ljubljana toppled Dolomiti Energia Trento 98-97 at home in a mini classic that featured high scoring and a game that went to the death. The game has been back and forth for three quarters, but in the last act Union Olimpija pulled away and opened a 91-81 lead. Dolomiti fought back, but the hosts held out for the valuable victory.

Group B
Last season’s runner up Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas saw off Le Mans Sarthe Basket 74-79 on the road in France, overcoming a tricky game in the process. Gran Canaria had looked comfortable for long spells, but the hosts rallied late to retake the lead in the fourth. The visitors responded to claw back and claim the win.

MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg marked its return to the Eurocup by beating compatriot ALBA Berlin 79-60 in another all-German match up. The hosts found a spark in the second stanza with an 8-0 run that made it 36-24 through halftime, and from there never looked back. Mustafa Shakur was outstanding for Ludwigsburg in victory with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

An all-Italian clash saw Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia take out Enel Brindisi Basket 82-79 at home and picked up the victory on the back of a strong fourth quarter display. Darjus Lavrinovic was huge in that final act, taking 8 points in a 16-3 run that saw the hosts storm the game and take the win. Rimantas Kaukenas paced the winners with 17 points.

Group C
Valencia Basket, the winningest club in the Eurocup history, edged SLUC Nancy 71-74 on the road to open its 2015/2016 continental campaign. The game had been quite until the final frame started, then it went crazy at both ends as the lead changed five times and the game tied seven times. That was until Sam Van Rossom stepping up with a game winning three pointer.

CAI Zaragoza took out Proximus Spirou Charleroi 80-70 at home in Spain, paced by a 19 point haul from Stefan Jelovac, while without Billy Baron’s 30 points Spirou would have been defeated by a greater margin. A 12-2 run in the third stanza put Zaragoza in front for good in what was a convincing success at the start of week 1.

Ratiopharm Ulm put Umana Reyer Venice to the sword 87-68, with the German hosts simply better all over the court. Ulm outrebounded their guests from Italy 41-31 and in Raymar Morgan someone in fantastic touch. Morgan shot 9 from 12 from two point distance on his way to 22 points, while he doubled up with 10 rebounds and topped up with 5 assists and 3 steals.

Group D
Unics Kazan demolished debutants Steaua CSM EximBank Bucharest 94-68 in Russia to send an early message to the other tournament favourites. Keith Langford remains a key for Unics as he led the team with 19 points, while he was amply fed by Quino Colom who put on a club record 13 assists during the game. Colom was also a double-double performer by scoring 10 points.

Trabzonspor Medical Park had a good run in Europe last season and got its 2015/2016 season off to a good start by beating Aris Thessaloniki 74-71. Making its Eurocup debut, the Turkish club held on late on as Dwight Hardy shot four points from the charity strip in the closing two minutes. Andrija Stipanovic scored 19 points in the win, while Hardy topped out at 14 points.

Buducnost VOLI Podgorica downed Banvit Bandirma 83-70 and while Banvit never made it easy for the hosts, Buducnost actually led from the first quarter and never let go the grip on lead. The Turkish guests could never get within six points of the Podgorica outfit in what was a good workout for Buducnost in game 1.

Group E
Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul came away from Vilnius with an 87-91 over Lithuanian giant Lietuvos Rytas on Wednesday. By halftime the Turkish club had already opened a 30-49 lead on the back of a 2-16 run in the second frame, and from there Besiktas never looked back. Maciej Lampe paced the winners with 20 points on 8-of-10 on two-point shooting.

An all-Russian contest took place in Group E as VTB United League rivals Zenit St. Petersburg rallied to defeat 85-90 Avtodor Saratov away from home. Saratov was leading 46-36 shortly after the long break, by Ryan Toolson sparked Zenit into life as he drained 22 points through the second half to drive his team to victory. 16 points in the final quarter from Toolson won the game, while he managed 35 points overall.

PAOK Thessaloniki held off Szolnok Olaj 72-69 at home at the start of its Eurocup campaign. This contest went to the wire, with the last 30 seconds proving decisive as Aaron Craft gave Olaj a one point advantage before Kostas Vasileiadis nailed four free throws in quick succession to snatch the win at the death for PAOK.

Group F
Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd edged AEK Athens 94-96 in what proved to be a huge game which troubled the record books. The contest went to overtime, but the visitors eventually found the points that made the difference in the added period. Tony Mitchell nailed 39 points for Krasny, while the winners saw D.J. Cooper dish out 14 assists, just two shy of the Eurocup record. Speaking of making historic plays, Loukas Mavrokefalidis put 42 points through the buckets to become the first player to break 40 points in five years. He helped himself to a (tied) record 55 performance index thanks to his 9 boards and 4 steals.

Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul secured a vital 90-94 road win at Neptunas Klaipeda, but were made to work very hard late on. The guests had looked in control and led for more than 20 minutes of play stretching deep into the fourth. However, Neptunas drew to within a single point late on but could not rally enough to turn the game around.

Nizhny Novgorod demolished Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem 92-71 at home, but only after a massive final 12 minutes on the hardwood. The game was locked 55 points apiece in the third frame, but Maxim Grigoryev drained four from beyond the arc to open the scoreboard for Nizhny, and the hosts simply run away with it thereafter.

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