Real Madrid and Montepaschi Siena both used come-from-behind wins to remain undefeated in Euroleague Top 16 play. CSKA Moscow dropped from the ranks of the unbeaten when they fell to visiting Unicaja Malaga. Anadolu Efes improved their record to 4-1 in Top 16 play with a down-to-the-wire contest against Zalgiris Kaunas, who falls to 1-4.
CSKA Moscow – Unicaja Malaga, 81:94
Unicaja Malaga picked up a huge road win in Moscow Friday when they came away with an 81:94 victory over CSKA. The loss is the first in 10 games for CSKA and also stops a three-game losing skid Malaga brought into the contest. The win puts Unicaja back on track to contend for a quarterfinals spot and improves their record to 2-3, the loss drops CSKA from the ranks of the unbeatens and into second place at 4-1.
Unicaja brought the shooters to Moscow for this game, opening up a 10-point lead after the first quarter and running their advantage up to as much as 17 mid-way into the second frame, 28:45. Marcus Williams had the touch and seemed to drop in shots from wherever he wanted for the guests. Just as it looked to be all but over for CSKA, the home squad went on a 15:2 run to finish out the half, cutting the deficit to four, 43:47.
CSKA came out after the break looking like a different team, playing tight defense to force two shot clock violations and converting on offense to take the lead. Williams then took control and scored 10 straight of his own to push the lead to nine, 61:70 at the end of three.
The visitors kept the pressure on early in the fourth, extending their margin to 18 after a deuce, two singles and a pair of triples, while CSKA only managed to split a pair of free throws in the same period of time. The hosts were able to get within 12, but every time they threatened to close further, Unicaja countered, preserving an important win on the road.
Unicaja’s Williams was game-high with 28 points and his PIR of 27 should give him co-MVP honors with Fenerbahce Ulker’s Bojan Bogdanovic. Krunoslav Simon added 15 points and 5 assists.
CSKA’s Nenad Krstic scored 23 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and accumulated a PIR of 32, high for the week. Milos Teodosic added 17 points and 8 assists.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul – Zalgiris Kaunas, 56:52
Anadolu Efes improved to 4-1 in Group E with a hard-fought battle with Zalgiris Kaunas in Istanbul. The loss drops Zalgiris to 1-4 and gives them a three-game losing streak.
Efes came out and set the tone with solid defense, holding their guests scoreless in the first four minutes. Zalgiris had trouble finding the cords throughout the quarter and were only able to net eight in the first 10 minutes. Efes wasn’t much better, but did build a 15:8 advantage in the first.
The hosts were able to stretch their lead early in the second, getting up 25:15 before Zalgiris found their rhythm and finished the half on a 2:8 run to head into the dressing rooms down four, 27:23.
Zalgiris closed the gap immediately after the break, knotting the score at 27, but Efes countered with two triples around a nifty backdoor play for a lay-up for the guests to open the margin again, 33:29. The clubs exchanged baskets for the rest of the quarter, with Efes holding a five-point lead heading into the final 10.
The fourth saw the visitors going on a 2:13 run to give them a 43:49 lead with four minutes left to play. Cracking a five minute scoring drought with back-to-back triples from Dusko Savanovic, Efes was able to pull back to even at 49 and then go up 52:49 with another three-ball from Joshua Shipp. Jamon Lucas hit the first of two free throws for Efes to push the lead to four, 53:49, but missed the second. Paulius Jankunas grabbed the rebound for Zalgiris and hit Marko Popovic on the fly down the right side who pulled up and closed the gap to one with a triple with 17 seconds to play. Savanovic was fouled on the inbounds to send him to the line, where he split his pair of singles to bring the score to 54:52. Oliver Lafayette got the inbounds and took it over the mid-court stripe and went one-on-one with Jordan Farmar to the hoop, but missed the lay-up. Tremmell Darden had an opportunity for a tip-in, but missed that as well and Shipp grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 2 seconds left. He dropped in his singles to push the margin to four, 56:52, and finish off the big win for Efes.
Sasha Vujacic was game-high for Efes with 12 points, Shipp added 11. Lucas added 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists on a 19 PIR night.
Darden and Mindaugas Kuzminskas contributed 10 points each for Zalgiris.
Panathinaikos Athens – Real Madrid, 54:58
Real Madrid was able to keep their host club, Panathinaikos Athens, scoreless for the final six and a half minutes to come from down five to open the fourth quarter and pick up their fifth win in Top 16 play. The win keeps Madrid’s record unblemished at 5-0, while Panathinaikos drops to 3-2.
The hosts took it to RM in the first, building a 20:11 advantage at the end of the quarter. The Greens took that lead to double digits in the second, before Madrid got things rolling themselves when Felipe Reyes hit a lay-up and an added free throw for a three-point play, then a triple to cut the gap to five, 22:17. Panathinaikos countered and shortly after the margin had grown again to 31:19. The clubs exchanged baskets to close out the half with the hosts up 10, 37:27.
The third quarter saw the clubs exchange scoring runs with Madrid closing the gap to five, then Panathinaikos extending back to 11. The visitors would get the last run when they scored the last six of the quarter to set up the final 10 with a 49:44 tally.
The fourth quarter belonged to Real Madrid as the hosts put there last points on the board when Michael Bramos dropped in a triple to extend his club’s lead to 54:46. From there out it was all Madrid as Panathinaikos wouldn’t find the bottom of the cords again and 12 points later RM had their 5-0 record and sole possession of the top spot in the group.
Reyes got 13 points for Madrid, while Rafael Hettsheimeir added 11 points and 5 rebounds.
Panathinaikos got 11 points from Bramos and 8 points and 7 rebounds from Kostas Tsartsaris.
Montepaschi Siena – Besiktas JK, 63:57
Montepaschi Siena stayed with Real Madrid as the only undefeated clubs in the Top 16, when a 63:57 home win over winless Besiktas JK.
Siena jumped out to an early 22:13 lead with a variety of scoring methods from long-range triples to baseline jumpers and thunderous dunks. They pushed the lead to as much as 14 in the second quarter, but settled for an 11-point margin, 37:26, on the way into the break.
Besiktas wasn’t ready to give up though and came out after their discussion at halftime and went on an 0:11 run to tie things up at 37. Damir Markota dropped in a three-ball at the buzzer to give the guests a 42:45 lead as they faced the final frame.
Montepashci got things together in the fourth and outscored their guests 20:12 to pick up their fifth win while handing Besiktas their fifth loss.
Victor Sanikidze lead Siena with 14 points, Bobby Brown added 13 to the win.
Curtis Jerrells contributed 16 points and 5 rebounds to the Besiktas effort. Gasper Vidmar dropped in 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, and Markota added 12 points and 8 rebounds.
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