Euroleague: Malaga and Zagreb out

EuroleagueAfter CSKA Moscow punched its ticket to the last 8 and Barcelona downed Real Madrid in the Euroleague on Thursday, there was more subdued program of games on Friday. All as important nonetheless, and while the evening’s action may seem like an undercard to Thursday’s giant games, as always the Euroleague delivered the goods.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul overcame Cedevita Zagreb during a hard fought home win in Group E, while Crvena Zvezda Belgrade continued its quality form with a road win over Unicaja Malaga in Spain. In Group F, there was just a single game, with Olympiacos Piraeus trying to get its Euroleague season back on track with a home romp over Zalgiris Kaunas.

Group E
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. Cedevita Zagreb, 80-76
Anadolu Efes stayed in the hunt for the quarter-finals with an edgy home win over Cedevita Zagreb, the win pushing the Turkish team to 5-6 in fifth place. With just three rounds left, Croatian champs Cedevita are now eliminated from the competition. The hosts were forced to dig as deep as possible and came back from several double digit deficits, including a 20-28 losing first frame. Thomas Huertal provided the class for Anadolu Efes with 19 points and 8 assists.

Unicaja Malaga vs. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 72-78
Crvena Zvezda proved its class once again with a road win over Unicaja Malaga, to move to joint second with a 7-4 record. Unicaja’s shoddy Top 16 form told in the end as the Spanish club was eliminated, while results on Friday meant that fighting Turkish club Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul was also eliminated. Malaga looked in control through the first half, and headed in for the long break with a 43-27 lead and looked to be cruising. Belgrade roared back with its biggest comeback of the season, plundering 51 points in the second half to win the game.

Group F

Olympiacos Piraeus vs. Zalgiris Kaunas, 74-59
Olympiacos eased past already eliminated Zalgiris Kaunas to stay in the fight in Group F, which is much tighter than Group E. The Greek giant has struggled this season, but this win pushed Olympiacos to 5-6 and a three way share of fifth place, behind Real Madrid in the all-important qualification spot. A 25-15 run in the second quarter gave the hosts a push and from there the former Euroleague champions never looked back. Georgios Printezis led the win with 17 points.

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