Round 2 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season was expected to be celebrated for the six teams that would mark their home openers after playing on the road the week before. Instead, Thursday saw three of the four games won by the visitors, including in front of packed crowds in Kaunas and Lithuania.
Zenit St Peterburg improved to 2-0 with both wins on the road, while Crvena Zvezda Belgrade manhandled Maccabi Tel Aviv. FC Barcelona also scored a road victory, with its at the expense of FC Bayern Munich. Only Panathinaikos OPAP Athens managed to celebrate with its fans after a come-from-behind triumph over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
On Friday, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, ALBA Berlin, and Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz get their chances to play on their home courts for the first time. Several of Friday’s games have interesting twists, including the last two champions meeting when Efes hosts CSKA Moscow and the rematch of last season’s 7DAYS EuroCup Finals between UNICS Kazan and AS Monaco.
Zalgiris Kaunas 64-70 Zenit St Petersburg
Zenit St Petersburg won its second straight road game to start the season and improved to 5-0 all-time against Zalgiris Kaunas with a 64-70 victory at Zalgirio Arena on Thursday night. Jordan Loyd scored a game-high 19 points to lead the winners – including a critical jump shot and two free throws in the final 30 seconds to hold off a late Zalgiris rally. Billy Baron added 11 points, and Mateusz Ponitka tallied 6 points, six rebounds, and six assists for Zenit, which held its opponent below 70 points for the second game in a row. Janis Strelnieks led the Zalgiris attack with 14 points and Joffrey Lauvergne and Lukas Lekavicius scored 10 points apiece. Lekavicius also delivered six assists.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens 91-87 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens enjoyed an unforgettable night when it defeated visiting Fenerbahce BEKO Istanbul 91-87 at OAKA on Thursday night. The hosts were 5 points down with just 40 seconds to go, but they kept believing and drew two unsportsmanlike fouls in a row that sparked a late 9-0 run from the free-throw line that turned the game upside down. Panathinaikos improved to 1-1, the same record as Fenerbahce. Nemanja Nedovic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead the greens with 20. Ioannis Papapetrou followed with 14 points, five boards, and four assists, and Daryl Macon Jr. and Okaro White added 14 and 12 points, respectively. Jan Vesely registered a double-double of 18 points and ten rebounds, while Nando de Colo poured in 16 points in as many minutes. Devin Booker and Pierria Henry followed them with 14 and 12 in losing effort.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 63-75 Crvena Zvezda Belgrade
Crvena Zvezda Belgrade entered the win column in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with an impressive 63-75 victory at Maccabi Tel Aviv. Nikola Kalinic led all scorers with 19 points while Nate Wolters poured in 17 points against his former club, and Luka Mitrovic picked up a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds in the victory – which gave the Serbian side a 1-1 mark. Maccabi has the same record after a disappointing showing in front of a sold-out Menora Mivtachim Arena. Scottie Wilbekin knocked down six three-pointers for 18 points, and Mathias Lessort chipped in 16 points in the loss.
FC Bayern Munich 72-80 FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona made it two wins out of two with a hard-earned 72-80 road victory over FC Bayern Munich at Audi Dome on Thursday night. The visitors scored the last 10 points of the first half to take control, stayed ahead after the break behind Cory Higgins, and leaned on solid defense to seal the deal. Higgins led the way with 16 points and five assists, while Brandon Davies scored 15 and Nikola Mirotic added 11. Bayern’s Darrun Hilliard topped all scorers with 18 points, with DeShaun Thomas (14) and Augustine Rubit (13) also scoring in double digits. Barca improved to 2-0, while Bayern is still waiting for its first win at 0-2.