What Thursday’s Euroleague games lacked in drama was certainly made up for on Friday with three games that went down to the wire. Anadolu Efes earned their fifth Top 16 win with a 73:78 victory on the road over Unicaja Malaga. Panathinaikos Athens survived a major scare from winless Brose Baskets, who took the Greens down to the last seconds before falling 76:73. BC Khimki Moscow Region traveled to Spain and handed Caja Laboral their second loss and pulled even with the Spanish club in the standings with a 71:83 win.
Unicaja Malaga – Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 73:78
Anadolu Efes Istanbul kept their position in second place in Group E with a huge road win over Unicaja Malaga, 73:78. The win improves Efes to 5-1, while dropping Malaga to 2-4.
Efes got out to a 4:10 lead early, with Unicaja countering and taking the lead. With the score at 16:14, Efes ran off the last eight points of the quarter to finish the first 10 up 16:22. The guests picked up the first four of the second quarter to bring their run to 0:12, by the time the hosts had dropped any more points on the board over eight minutes had elapsed. At the end of the first half the visitors had increased their lead to 10, 28:38.
The lead was extended to 16 mid-way through the third 10, 31:47. Unicaja mounted a comeback at that point that got down six, 42:48. Anadolu pushed the lead back to 10, then the hosts ran off seven unanswered to pull within three, 49:52. Marcus Williams nailed a triple at the buzzer to pull Unicaja to within a point, 54:55.
Earl Calloway dropped in a deuce to give the hosts the lead as the fourth quarter started. The clubs exchanged the lead through the first seven minutes of the quarter, bringing the score to 66-all. Efes picked up the next four to go up 66:70, countered by a Calloway triple. Jordan farmer split a pair of singles, then came down on the next possession and hit the cords with a triple. Luka Zoric sank a pair of free throws with 28.6 to play to bring the score to 71:74. A steal and a tip in off a missed layup iced the win for the visitors.
Farmer led the winners with 15 points and 5 assists. Kerem Gonlum added 13 points, 10 rebounds and a PIR of 23. Semih Erden dropped in 11 points.
Zoric was game-high with 20 for Unicaja. Williams and Calloway added 15 each, while Williams also collected 6 assists and Calloway grabbed 7 rebounds.
Panathinaikos Athens – Brose Baskets Bamberg, 76:73
Panathinaikos and Brose treated the 5,000 that showed up at OAKA with a nail biter that lasted to the final seconds in Athens. As the final buzzer sounded the hosts improved their Top 16 record to 4-2 and were in a tie for the third spot in Group E with CSKA Moscow, while Brose was left looking for their first win in the round with a 0-6 record.
The battle was on early as the clubs exchanged the lead throughout the first frame, with it ending in a 19:19 tie. Panathinaikos was able to get some breathing room in the second, getting up five late in the quarter, but Bamberg was able to close it out and get back to within one before Stephane Lasme netted a deuce at the end of the half to put his club up 36:33 as they headed to the dressing rooms for the intermission.
Late in the third quarter the hosts had built a nine-point advantage, 51:42, but Brose was able to counter by running off seven unanswered to close out the third 10 to head into the last frame only down by two, 51:49.
Mid-way through the fourth Panathinaikos got back up by six, 69:63, but a John Goldsberry triple trimmed the margin in half. Lasme put the hosts up five with a put-back off an offensive rebound. A Teddy Gipson triple for Bamberg with 4.4 seconds to play brought the visitors to within one, 74:73. Jonas Maciulis was fouled immediately on the inbounds and dropped in both singles to push the lead back to three. Gipson was fouled when Brose brought the ball in to keep him from getting the opportunity to hit a triple, but he missed both singles and his teammates weren’t able to secure the rebound to get a shot off, giving the Greens their fourth win of the Top 16 round.
Michael Bramos led the way for Panathiniakos with 16, followed by Lasme’s 15 points and 9 rebounds. Marcus Banks added 13 points and Dimitris Diamantidis dished off 9 assists.
Bostjan Nachbar paced Brose with 16 points. Sharrod Ford contributed 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Anton Gavel added 12 points and 7 rebounds.
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Caja Laboral Vitoria – BC Khimki Moscow Region, 71:83
BC Khimki Moscow Region moved into a tie in the standings with Caja Laboral with a 71:83 road win in front of 11,000 at Fernando Buesa Arena. Both clubs left the arena with 4-2 records, one game behind FC Barcelona Regal and Montepaschi Siena, at 5-1.
As was the case in all three contests Friday, the two clubs traded the lead throughout the first quarter and ended up 18:19 when the first buzzer sounded. Caja got up by eight early in the second before Khimki countered and pulled to within one at 35:34 mid-way through the period. The shooters put on a show in the frame and moved outside the arc resulting in 51 points being put up during the second 10. Heading into the break Caja lead by two, 45:43.
Khimki found they could score both inside and outside as Matt Nielson was able to find a hole in the Caja defense to get a couple of backdoor passes for a layup and a dunk and K.C. Rivers helped pull the defense out by slicing the cords with multiple triples. By the end of the third the guests had a six-point advantage 56:62.
Early in the last frame Khimki was able to extend their lead to 12. Caja got back on track and was able to cut the gap to five, but Khimki pressed on and had Zoran Planinic scoring at will from both outside the arc and with textbook moves down the lane. Caja couldn’t come up with an answer and Khimki had what they needed to pull even with Caja in the group standings.
Paul Davis was game-high for Khimki with 20 points. Rivers added 16, Planinic dropped in 13 points and dished off 6 assists.
Fabien Causeur paced Caja with 15 points, Maciej Lampe added 13, Nemanja Bjelica contributed 12.
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