Euroleague Round 9 tips off

EuroleagueThere are six Euroleague Top 16 places up for grabs as we enter Round 9 of the Regular Season, but none of them were secured on Thursday as the week’s action opened. There was plenty of jostling for position though and many clubs now sit on the precipice of qualifying or crashing out.

Group B
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, 95-86
Anadolu used a big closing to the game to tie up second place in Group B, leapfrogging Laboral Kutxa with a superior head to head, both teams on 5-4. The two clubs had already qualified, but Spanish guests Laboral Kutxa Vitoria started the contest like there was plenty at stake. The visitors led 16-21 after ten minutes and held for a 41-46 advantage at halftime. In the second half Anadolu Efes improved and used the third act and a 26-20 run to take a one point lead into the fourth (67-66). From there the hosts used momentum to pull away down the stretch.

Thomas Huertal led the victory with 25 points and 9 assists, while Dario Saric grabbed 12 points.

Laboral Kutxa looked to the 20 points of Darius Adams to pace the team, although Jaka Blazic added 15 points and Mike James 15 points.

Limoges vs. Olympiacos Piraeus, 67-76
Olympiacos (8-1) headed into the penultimate week of Euroleague Regular Season action knowing it already has a Top 16 berth and is guaranteed first place in Group B. However, the Greek giant did not lift off the gas and took down already eliminated Limoges (2-7) on the road in France. The visitors led from early in the first quarter and controlled long periods of the game, claiming a 36-46 lead through the long break. Limoges did little to address the balance in the second half as Olympiacos stayed professional in the third quarter and held firm in the fourth.

Georgios Printezis topped the winning team with 13 points.

Ali Traore and Leo Westermann were the game high scorers with 14 points apiece for Limoges.

Group C
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 78-88
Lokomotiv got back to winning ways and moved to the top of Group C with a 7-2 record, although the Russian club is still in a fight with Barcelona for first place. As for Turkish champs Karsiyaka, the club was unable to qualify regardless of the result here. The hosts were actually solid in the first half, draining 21 points in both quarters, but Lokomotiv were hotter and plundered 50. The Russian visitors continued to impress offensively in the second half and shored up at the back to ease to victory.

Ryan Broekhoff netted a mammoth 26 points for Lokomotiv, followed by Kyrylo Fesenko with 17 points and Evgeny Voronov with 14 points.

Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Barcelona, 88-92
With a 19-1 record in this fixture and having won the last 14, Barcelona may have been confident of beating Zalgiris and securing top spot in Group C in the process. However, the already qualified Spanish giant slipped to defeat and a 6-3 record, while Kaunas improved to 5-4, although it too had already progressed to the Euroleague Top 16. Barcelona now faces a do-and-die tie with Lokomotiv next week to decide the group. The Lithuanian hosts downed Barca 16-27 in the first quarter and held the advantage for most of the game thereafter.

Paulius Jankunas topped Zalgiris with 17 points, while Mantas Kalnietis added 16 points and Oliver Hanlan 14 points.

Ante Tomic put in his most destructive game of the Euroleague campaign for Barcelona as the bog Croatian finished with a game high 28 points.

Group D
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Brose Baskets Bamberg, 85-65
Tel Aviv is in the midst of the great escape after routing already qualified Brose Baskets Bamberg in Israel. The club is now 3-6 in fifth place, but need Darussafaka Istanbul to lose this week and next week to survive to the Top 16. The hosts put together a big first frame to lead 22-10 at the opening split, before extending o 41-28 at halftime. In the second half Tel Aviv continued to put Bamberg to the sword and in the process the Israeli juggernaut tied a team record of 16 three pointers.

Sylven Landesberg paced Tel Aviv with 19 points and Taylor Rochestie added 16 points and 9 rebounds.

Bradley Wanamaker topped a timid Bamberg with 13 points.

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