Round 1 of the Euroleague Top 16 has closed and with it has brought to an end 2015 in Europe’s elite club competition. We now look forward to plenty of action in 2016, when a champion for the 2015/2016 season will be crowned. There is a long way to go until the Final Four and any title decider, so let’s go back to Round 1 of the Euroleague Top 16 and see how the clubs fared on Wednesday.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs. Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, 85-54
No quarter was given in a tight contest between Anadolu Efes and Crvena Zvezda in Istanbul, Turkey, with the hosts emerging narrow winners. It did not look like that result was on the card through halftime as Crvena Zvezda has won the second frame 19-31 and led 44-54 during the long break. The Serbian giant enhanced its lead to 61-72 through thirty minutes and was cruising, Anadolu Efes rallied against the visitors in the fourth and Dario Saric drained with 3 seconds left to secure the comeback.
Bryant Dunston led the winners with 21 points, while Jayson Granger and Jon Diebler added 13 points. Saric was good for 12 points, including the winning bucket.
Maik Zirbes launched a game high 22 points in the losing effort and completed a double-double with 12 rebounds.
Cedevita Zagreb vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, 75-89
Lokomotiv has been gathering form in recent weeks in the VTB United League and carried it to the Euroleague Top 16 with a comfortable road success over Cedevita in Croatia. The guests used a 20-34 run in the second act to get the breathing room and then killed the game by plundering 26 points in the fourth quarter. Cedevita stayed in the game until late, but the hosts were dominated for long periods of the game.
Malcolm Delaney was the catalyst for Krasnodar’s success with a blistering 31 point haul and 8 assists, while Chris Singleton added 16 points.
James White provided 15 points and 7 boards for Cedevita, followed by Miro Bilan and Luka Zoric with 12 points each.
Fenerbahce Istanbul vs. Panathinaikos Athens, 82-75
Fenerbahce continued to fuel talk of a title run by outgunning Euroleague stalwart, giant, and former winner Panathinaikos of Athens. The Turkish hosts started in blazing form and swamped The Greens from Greece with a 28-18 opening stanza. Panathinaikos roared back with 25 points in the second quarter to make it a closer affair through halftime, 46-43. Fener enhanced its margin by a single point in the third and then outlasted the visitors in the fourth frame to celebrate victory.
Ekpe Udoh topped the winning effort with 16 points, while Luigi Datome added 15 points. Pero Antic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Jan Vesely all notched 12 points.
Miroslav Raduljica and James Gist paced Panathinaikos with 14 points apiece.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Laboral Kutxa Vitoria, 68-89
Euroleague Top 16 regular Zalgiris Kaunas suffered a big loss in front of its home fans as Laboral Kutxa Vitoria bookended the contest with massive offensive efforts. The visitors from Spain poured in 33 points in the first quarter and kept Zalgiris to 14 points, and even though the Lithuanian home team improved in Q2 the score was 40-55. The game was already out of sight before Vitoria killed all Kaunas hope with a splendid 13-25 run in the fourth quarter that ended the contest.
Darius Adams paced Laboral Kutxa Vitoria with 16 points, followed by Mike James with 15 points and Fabian Causeur with 13 points.
Olivier Hanlan added 16 points in the loss, while Paulius Jankuanas managed 14 points and Ian Vougiokas 13 points. Edgaras Ulanovas doubled up with 10 points and 10 rebounds from the bench.
Real Madrid vs. Brose Baskets Bamberg, 82-79
After scraping through the Regular Season, current Euroleague champs Real Madrid opened its Top 16 campaign with a win, although the Spanish giant remains largely unconvincing this season. The home win at the expense of German club Brose Baskets Bamberg saw Real Madrid need to fight back from a double digit losing deficit through halftime. The visitors led 40-50 before Los Blancos erupted with 52 points in the second half to see off the Bamberg challenge.
Sergio Rodriguez was huge for Madrid with 22 points and 8 scoring passes, while Jaycee Carroll was good for 13 points in the win.
Janis Strelnieks was the chief scorer for Bamberg with 16 points, followed by Bradley Wanamaker’s 14 points and Nikos Zisis’ 13 points.