Euroleague, Madrid back to winning ways

EuroleagueThe most exciting day of the Basketball week is back as the Euroleague descends for round two of the 2015/2016 Regular Season. Europe’s elite club competition tipped off for the second week this campaign with six games around the continent, and as usual there was not a dull contest in the Euroleague.

Indeed, fans in the arenas and on TV have once again be treated to a feast of hoops with contest from each of the groups taking place on Thursday.

Group A

FC Bayern Munich vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 69-60
After the euphoria of downing Euroleague champs Real Madrid last week in Russia, Khimki traveled to Munich and was undone by a good Bayern performance. The Germans downed the Eurocup title holders to generate a first win of this Euroleague season, and the victory was built on a classy first half. The Germans set the tone with 45 first half points, while Khimki could only muster 31 points. The visitors dug into the deficit in the third act (14-20), but Munich edged a tight fourth quarter to ensure the victory.

Nihad Djedovic led the hosts with 16 points and 8 rebounds, while K.C. Rivers added 15 points in the win. Alex Renfroe had a game to remember as he doubled up with 10 points and 11 boards, while also laying on 5 scoring passes.

Alexey Shved topped Khimki with 16 points, followed by James Augustine with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Real Madrid vs. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 98-71
Real Madrid bounced back from its shaky start to the season and the loss to Khimki last week to demolish Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda in the Spanish capital. Los Blancos simply took apart the Belgrade guests in the first half, outright embarrassing the Serbs during a 22-6 first quarter and then twisting the knife with a 34-14 second frame that made it 56-20 through halftime. The game had been won, and a 26-21 third quarter piled on the misery for Crvena Zvezda before the visitors restored pride against a Madrid bench by winning the fourth 16-30.

Jaycee Carroll led the winning effort with 19 points and 6 rebounds, while Gustavo Ayon added 16 points and 7 boards. Trey Thompkins contributed 12 points, followed by Sergio Llull and Hernangomez with 11 points apiece.

Maik Zirbes stood out for Crvena Zvezda with 15 points, with Marko Simonovic adding 12 points.

Group B

Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, 89-73
Anadolu Efes took sole possession of Group B for the time being with a home success over Milan in Turkey. The hosts were forced to grind from the first tip off though and for much of the first half the teams traded buckets and the lead. Indeed, heading into the long break, only a single point separated the teams on the scoreboard, Anadolu Efes leading 43-42. The hosts finally found some room against a dogged Milan in the third using a 26-20 run to lead 69-62, before killing the game with a hot finish to stay unbeaten so far this season.

Jon Diebler led Efes with 17 points, while Thomas Huertal tabbed 13 points and handed out 8 assists.

Alessandro Gentile was the top scorer in the game with 22 points, with Milan MacVan providing 18 points for Milan, while he also added 9 rebounds to his account.

Cedevita Zagreb vs. Limoges CSP, 80-84
Limoges edged Cedevita on the road in Zagreb to collect its first Euroleague win of the season, while the Croatian hosts are still waiting to get up and running. Limoges dominated the closing stages of the first quarter to ensure a comfortable 19-27 lead after ten minutes, then the French club extended to 32-44 at halftime. With a double-digit lead, Limoges were cruising, but Cedevita rallied in the third and used 22-15 run to get right back in the game through thirty minutes (54-59), and made it really tight down the stretch. In the end, Limoges held firm in the closing minutes to grab the win.

Nobel Boungou-Colo and Leo Westermann both plundered 15 points in the success, with Colo adding 7 rebounds to his tally. Will Daniels logged 14 points.

Jacob Pullen dragged Cedevita back into contention with his 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Miro Bilan was good for 19 points and 9 boards, and James White hit for 17 points.

Group C

Panathinaikos Athens vs. Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir, 85-73
Panathinaikos Athens is up and running in Group C after beating Turkish champions Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir in week 2. The Greek giant only actually won a single frame, the first quarter, but the 30-15 winning margin in the opening ten minutes proved too much of a deficit for Karsiyaka to overcome. The visitors won the second 17-19 and the third 17-18 to make it 64-52 after half hour on the hardwood, but Panathinaikos killed the game and tied down the stretch to open its win account for the 2015/2016 Euroleague season.

James Gist was the go to guy for the winners as he drained 27 points, while Dimitris Diamantidis scored 12 points and laid on 8 dimes.

Kenny Gabriel top scored for Pinar Izmir with 17 points, while his 10 rebounds ensured a double-double. Juan Palaciaos added 14 points in the losing effort and Joe Ragland hit 12 points through the nets.

Group D

Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Unicaja Malaga, 82-93
2014 Euroleague champs Maccabi Tel Aviv saw their terrible start to the season continue as they were swamped by Malaga at home. The Spanish visitors preyed on Tel Aviv’s low confidence in the closing stages to kill a game that had been close through the first three stanzas. Indeed, Malaga led 21-24 through ten minutes, but Tel Aviv tied proceedings 47 apiece through halftime before the visitors started to take control in the second half, leading 63-68 after three frames and then running away with it in the fourth.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas topped the Spanish club with 23 points, while Jamar Smith added 17 points.

Taylor Rochestie logged 18 points for Tel Aviv and combined his scoring with 7 assists. Trevor Mbakwe scored 17 points in defeat.

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