AX Armani Exchange Milan cruised on the road and crushed Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 43-68 to stay top of the Euroleague standings on Friday. The Italian team is followed by Spanish giants FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, who overcame Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Zalgiris Kaunas in Round 9. Then comes a four-way tie featuring Zenit St Petersburg and Olympiacos Piraeus, following the Russian team’s victory over the Greek visitor, 84-78, on Friday. AS Monaco also occupies a playoffs position after downing FC Bayern Munich, 94-71, on Friday.
Two of Thursday’s games came down to the final shot, and another was decided in the last minute. CSKA Moscow edged Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 74-73 in a battle of classic clubs. Later UNICS Kazan escaped from Panathinaikos OPAP Athens with a 72-74 triumph. In both cases, the losing side missed the final shot for the victory. Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade held off a late LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne rally to win 73-67, while the champs earned their first road win as Anadolu Efes Istanbul mauled ALBA Berlin 63-90 with EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic scoring his 2,000th career points.
Zenit St Petersburg 84-78 Olympiacos Piraeus
Zenit St Petersburg edged out Olympiacos Piraeus 84-78 in Russia on Friday night to leave both teams with a 6-3 record. Zenit, which has now won three straight games, scored the opening basket and never trailed in the first three quarters but could not establish a big enough lead to feel comfortable. Olympiacos briefly went ahead early in the final period, but Zenit struck back with an 8-0 run and stayed ahead the rest of the way. Conner Frankamp led Zenit with 16 points, all in the first half. Billy Baron scored 14 points, while Jordan Loyd and Mindaugas Kuzminskas both had 12. Thomas Walkup top-scored for Olympiacos with 17 points, Moustapha Fall and Kostas Sloukas both scored 13, and Tyler Dorsey added 11.
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 43-68 AX Armani Exchange Milan
On Friday evening, AX Armani Exchange Milan displayed a dominant performance against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and claimed a 43-68 blowout win at the Ulker Sports and Event Hall. The visitors suffocated the home team’s offense from the beginning, holding its opponent to 3 points in the first period and building a solid double-digit margin, 3-22, that was never jeopardized. A three-point rain after the intermission gave Milan a 29-62 lead after 30 minutes, good to confirm a victory that improves its record to 8-1 and keeps it as sole leader. Shavon Shields paced the winners with 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Luigi Datome followed him with 11 points, as Nicolo Melli had 6 points, six rebounds, and six assists for a PIR of 17. Fenerbahce, which dropped to 3-6, had only one player in double-digits in scoring, Pierria Henry, with 12. Jan Vesely helped him with 9 points, seven rebounds, and three steals for a PIR of 21 in the losing effort.
AS Monaco 94-71 FC Bayern Munich
AS Monaco rolled past FC Bayern Munich at home 94-71 thanks to a balanced effort on offense and a strong defensive showing. Monaco built a 13-point lead in the second quarter and never let Bayern get closer than seven points the rest of the game. Mike James paced five Monaco players in double figures with 18 points, while Danilo Andjusic and Dwayne Bacon both picked up 16 points, and Leo Westermann and Will Thomas both scored 13 as the hosts improved to 5-4. Bayern has now lost two straight to fall to 3-6. Vladimir Lucic led the German side with 15 points, with Othello Hunter scored 14 points, and Augustine Rubit and Deshaun Thomas picked up 10 points in the loss.
Real Madrid 95-82 Zalgiris Kaunas
Real Madrid led from start to finish in a fast-paced high-scoring affair, using seven double-digit scorers to protect its home floor against Zalgiris Kaunas 95-82 on Friday night. Real improved to a 7-2 record, a win behind the first-placed AX Armani Exchange Milan, while Zalgiris remains the only winless team, dropping to 0-9. Real took the lead from the get-go and built a 15-point lead in the second quarter. But Lukas Lekavicius got Zalgiris going, and the visitors found a three-point to get right back in the game until the midway point of the fourth quarter. Guerschon Yabusele paced Real with 15 points and six rebounds. Sergio Llull scored 13, Thomas Heurtel had 12 points and five assists, and Vincent Poirier also scored 12. Rudy Fernandez, Adam Hanga, and Walter Tavares scored 10 points apiece. Tyler Cavanaugh scored 14 for Zalgiris, while Lekavicius netted 12 points and dished ten assists. Niels Giffey also scored 12, and Marek Blazevic had 10 points in the losing effort.