Fans lift eight home teams to victory in EuroLeague round 1

Four games were played yesterday in the 1st round of the Euroleague regular season. Just like in the eight games the night before, all home teams won.

UNICS Kazan 69-70 Zenit St Petersburg

Zenit St Petersburg recorded its first win of the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season in an all-Russian opening game by downing UNICS Kazan 69-70 on the road on Friday. Conner Frankamp led the winners with 18 points in his EuroLeague debut. Billy Baron added 17, while Jordan Loyd had 10 for Zenit. Isaiah Canaan led UNICS with 18 points, all in the second half. Mario Hezonja added 14 and John Brown 10 for the hosts. John Brown and Mario Spissu fueled a 12-0 run that allowed UNICS to get a 24-18 margin early in the second quarter. Frankamp put Zenit ahead 25-26, but Lorenzo Brown helped UNICS tie 33-33 at halftime. Andrey Vorontsevich later struck from downtown to lift UNICS ahead by 47-41, but Baron and Arturas Gudaitis fueled a 0-10 run that gave Zenit a 49-51 edge after 30 minutes. Baron got help from Gudaitis and Dmitry Kulagin to send Zenit comfortably in front, 54-66, before UNICS tried to come back late but fell just short.

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 61-57 Crvena Zvezda Belgrade

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul started a new era under Sasa Djordjevic in style on Friday, acing their season opener with a hard-fought 61-57 victory over visiting Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade. Fenerbahce rocketed to a 14-0 start and held Zvezda scoreless for 5 minutes, but the game devolved into a defensive battle. The visitors took brief leads and were still within 51-49 with 3 minutes left before Dyshawn Pierre and Nando De Colo put away the win. Pierre led the winners with 13 points as Fenerbahce’s sole double-digit scorer. Devin Booker added 8 points and nine rebounds for the winners, while Pierria Henry had six assists and five steals. Nikola Ivanovic came off the bench to score 16 points for Zvezda, while Nikola Kalinic and Nate Wolters added nine each.

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 88-76 Zalgiris Kaunas

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne started the new 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season in style on Friday, defeating visiting Zalgiris Kaunas 88-76 before its appreciative fans at the Astroballe. ASVEL, which trailed for only one possession in the game’s opening minute, took control with four consecutive three-pointers early in the second quarter and took the lead for good with three more in a row midway through the third. ASVEL shot 11-for-23 from downtown for the night, led by Elie Okobo, who scored 23 points in 24 minutes. Chris Jones had 14 points, six assists, and three steals. Youssoupha Fall collected 12 points plus nine rebounds, while Charles Kahudi scored 11 in victory. Janis Strelnieks netted 21 for Zalgiris, while Emmanuel Mudiay scored 12.

Olympiacos Piraeus 75-50 Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz

Olympiacos Piraeus opened its season with an emphatic 75-50 home victory over Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Olympiacos gave up just 22 points in the first half and never was challenged the rest of the way. Sasha Vezenkov was Olympiacos’s leading scorer with 16 points, with Moustapha Fall adding 11 points and Kostas Sloukas 10 to go with five assists. Rokas Giedraitis paced Baskonia with 15 points and six rebounds, while Matt Costello had 11 points and nine rebounds in the loss.

Euroleague 1st round

FC Barcelona 96-64 ALBA Berlin

On Friday, FC Barcelona had a solid start to the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season by downing ALBA Berlin 96-64 in front of 3,000 fans at Palau Blaugrana. In its first EuroLeague home game with fans since March 2020, Barcelona welcomed them back with a no-doubt-about-it victory. Nikola Mirotic led the winners with 22 points on a perfect shooting night. Rokas Jokubaitis added 12 for Barcelona. Luke Sikma led ALBA with 16 points and ten rebounds. Maodo Lo added 12 points for the guests. Nikola Mirotic and Nick Calathes each had 5 points in a 12-2 opening run. Barcelona kept excelling on offense to boost its margin to 28-15 after 10 minutes and then to 50-28 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as an unstoppable Mirotic allowed Barcelona to get a 56-29 margin and the hosts kept a comfortable lead until the final buzzer.

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