Euroleague Top 16 at midway point

Euroleague Top 16The Euroleague Top 16 has reached its midway point and slowly the groups are starting to take shape, although many of the continent’s giants are still finding the going tough.

With four games on Thursday, there was a chance for some of those previous winners to show that they are still a threat despite shaky Euroleague Top 16 campaigns so far. That included Real Madrid, the current champions taking out Khimki on the road, to halt the progress of the Russians in Group F. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria’s excellent form continued with a big home win over Brose Baskets Bamberg.

In Group E, Fenerbahce continued to dominate with a home cruise over Unicaja Malaga, while Crvena Zvezda Belgrade took out Cedevita Zagreb in an Adriatic clash.

Group E

Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs. Cedevita Zagreb, 94-74
Crvena Zvezda was too strong for Cedevita Zagreb in the Serbian capital, moving to 4-3 in the Euroleague Top 16 and third place in Group E. The hosts were too hot from the start and by halftime had opened a 43-32 lead. From there the Serbian champion looked in control and used a huge 32-18 winning fourth act to settle the game.

Quincy Miller led the winners with 22 points, while Vailije Micic added 14 points and 9 rebounds and Marko Guduric 13 points. Vladimir Stimac contributed 13 boards to the win.

Jacob Pullen topped Cedevita with 20 points, followed by James White with 18 points and 7 rebounds, and Miro Bilan with 17 points.

Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Unicaja Malaga, 80-59
Fenerbahce stayed unbeaten at the top of Group E with a 7-0 record with an easy home win over struggling Malaga. A tight 16-15 first quarter gave Fener an early edge and the hosts run with it, using a 25-13 run to claim a 41-28 lead at halftime. Malaga struggled to get into the contest, allowing Fenerbahce to extend through the second half on the way to a comfortable win.

Luigi Datome led the win with 13 points, while Ekpe Udoh and Ricky Hickmand added 12 point apiece, with Udoh getting 10 rebounds for a double-double.

DeMarcus Nelson was the sole double digit scorer in the loss, with 11 points.

Group F

Khimki Moscow Region vs. Real Madrid, 82-93
After impressing early on in the Euroleague Top 16, Khimki is now nursing two consecutive defeats after champions Real Madrid left Russian with a win. The victory tied Los Blancos with Khimki at 4-3 in the group, the Spaniards having their own shaky form to content with this season. After leading 50-43 through the long break the hosts looked to be cruising, but Real Madrid sparked a comeback with 50 second half points that turned the contest.

Gustavo Ayon doubled up to lead the winning effort with 24 points and 13 boards, while Sergio Llull provided an offensive double with 17 points and 11 scoring passes.

James Augustine led Khimki with 20 points and 7 rebounds, followed by Alexey Shved with 17 points and 6 assists, and Tyrese Rice with 12 points and 9 dimes.

Laboral Kutxa Vitoria vs. Brose Baskets Bamberg, 90-64
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria ensured sole possession of second place in the Group F standings this week with a blazing home sweep of Brose Baskets Bamberg. The Spanish hosts restricted Bamberg to 30 points in the first half to hold a 19 point lead. In the second half Vitoria continued to turn the proverbial screw and simply outclassed the Germans at every opportunity.

Ioannis Bourrousis led the win with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Mike James added 16 points.

Bradley Wanamaker topped Bamberg with 11 points.

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