There were plenty of huge games in the Euroleague Top 16 as Round 11 got underway in Europe’s elite club competition, with Group E and Group F now taking shape as we approach the final round in three weeks’ time.
In Group E, already qualified Fenerbahce finished off Darussafaka Dogus in an Istanbul derby, while Panathinaikos Athens rebounded with a win over Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar.
In Group F, CSKA Moscow progressed with a win over nearest rival, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, while Brose Baskets Bamberg took out a Khimki Moscow Region that has just collapsed in recent weeks. The game of the road took place in Catalonia, where Barcelona played host to Real Madrid and defeated its longtime rival.
It is worth noting that it was a night for hosts, with every single home club winning in the Euroleague Top 16 on Thursday.
Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, 77-69
After qualifying last week, Fenerbahce was in cruise control in its victory over city rival Darussafaka, and in the process secured first place in the standings and all but eliminated Darussafaka. Fener is now 18 unbeaten at home in the Euroleague and is looking increasingly formidable as the season progresses. The hosts led throughout and weathered a rally by the visitors in the third quarter to close out the game in the fourth, paced by Ekpe Udoh with 18 points.
Panathinaikos Athens vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 84-79
After dropping its first game in five last week, Panathinaikos bounced back with a big win over tricky Lokomotiv in the Greek capital. The Euroleague Top 16 win ensured the clubs are now locked on 7-4 in the race for second place. The guests had actually carved a lead by halftime and led 36-41 through the long break, but Panathinaikos responded with 48 points in the second half to turn the contest around and take the win. James Gist and Elliot Williams led the win with 16 points apiece.
Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 72-65
Neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid are having vintage seasons, and as a result this was hardly a vintage game between two of Europe’s giants. It was still an El Clasico though, which meant at the very least plenty of passions and dramatic action. Barcelona edged the contest, thanks largely to a freak first quarter than ended 25-4, a suitable punishment for a Madrid team that started ice cold. Stratos Perperoglou led the win with 20 points and helped Barca to 6-5 in Group F, tied with Los Blancos.
CSKA Moscow vs. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, 90-78
Laboral Kutxa Vitoria has been sensational through the Euroleague Top 16, but the Spanish club was taken down by CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital. The win sent CSKA through to the next round with an 8-3 record, while Laboral Kutxa is secured in second place with a 7-4 showing. A 20-14 first act and a 20-12 second ensured the hosts a 40-26 lead through halftime and from there CSKA never looked back in a solid home display against tough opponents.
Brose Baskets Bamberg vs. Khimki Moscow Region, 84-79
What has happened to Khimki? Flying high a few weeks ago, the Russian club has now won just one of its last six games and is now in serious danger of not qualifying. Brose Baskets Bamberg gave its own chances a major boost with a win in Germany, joining Khimki on a 5-6 record in a tie for fifth place. Bradley Wanamaker was in impervious form as he paced the win with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 scoring passes.