It was a big day in the Euroleague as seven teams earned their invitations to the Top 16 by either winning their Week 8 match-up, or by someone being eliminated that opened the door for them. The match of the day was the Panathinaikos – Union Olimpija game, due to the fact that as the final buzzer sounded on the Panathinaikos win, it gave the hosts their 12th consecutive Top 16 spot and also locked up spots for Real Madrid and BC Khimki. Earning their seat at the Top 16 table Thursday were: Real Madrid, BC Khimki Moscow Region, Panathinaikos, Alba Berlin, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Anadolu Efes, and Olympiacos. Of note, before a presentation was given outlining the Euroleague’s commitment to the Special Olympics, sharing the floor with select Special Olympians, their coaches and others involved in the program.
BC Khimki – Mapooro Cantu, 77:53
BC Khimki Moscow Region went into their contest with Mapooro Cantu knowing that they just needed to take care of business to move a step closer to a spot in the Top 16 and if they got some help in Athens they’d be in. Sometimes plans work to perfection as Khimki pounded Qualifying Round winner Cantu in a 24-point win to do their part and Panathinaikos offered the needed help on the other end of Group A with a solid win over Union Olimpija to move both Khimki and Panathinaikos on. The events of the day even locked up a spot for Real Madrid, who didn’t play Thursday, but will take the floor on Friday knowing that they are assured a spot in the Top 16 and they are playing for position.
Cantu came out ready to play, outscoring their hosts 23:24 in the first quarter, but Khimki used a 21:7 second quarter to put the game out of reach and then built on that margin in the last two quarters to give them their fifth win in Euroleague competition.
BC Khimki: Zoran Planinic 14; Paul Davis 14; Sergey Monya 11; Vitaly Fridzon 11.
Mapooro Cantu: Manuchar Markoishvili 16; Maarten Leunen 11; Jeff Brooks 10.
Panathinaikos – Union Olimpija, 80:72
For the last 11 years a Panathinaikos Athens squad has competed in the Top 16 round of the Euroleague competition, with a key 80:72 win over Union Olimpija on Thursday, in front of an estimated 5,000 friendlies, that number was bumped to 12 consecutive years. The win locked up three Group A spots as Real Madrid, BC Khimki and Panathinaikos have no one left to be able to knock them out of the round. The hosts got the early advantage, winning Q1 17:11, but Olimpija cut the gap to two using an 0:11 run to help even things up at 35:33 by the intermission. Panathinaikos turned to the long-ball in the third to build a 17-point lead, but Union knocked down some key triples of their own to keep the game manageable. Heading into the final 10 the board had the hosts up 62:49, but Olimpija clawed their way back into the game, and after a couple of three-pointers they had cut the gap to six. The hosts put up a 10:3 run to extend the lead to 13, but Union made a game out of it with a 2:11 run of their own to cut the margin to four, 74:70, with just over a minute to play. That was a close as Olimpija would get and Panathinaikos got celebrations started in Athens, Madrid, and Moscow with the win.
Panathinaikos: Marcus Banks 14; Roko-Leni Ukic 14; Stephane Lasme 14; Michael Bramos 11; Jonas Maciulis 10.
Union Olimpija: Jak Blazi 19; Dino Muric 14; Klemen Prepelic 11.
Alba Berlin – Asseco Prokom, 67:64
Alba earned their ticket to the Top 16 with a tough 67:64 win over Prokom and with some help from Maccabi TA. The win moves Alba to 4-4 and tied for third place, while Prokom remained at the bottom of the Group at 1-7. Alba had a 14-point margin early in the final quarter, but their guests found their groove and stormed back to within one with a minute to play. The final minute turned out to be a free throw contest that the German squad came out on top of to start the squad making plans for the next round of match-ups.
Alba Berlin: DaShaun Wood 14; Zach Morley 13; Deon Thompson 11; Yassin Idbihi 10.
Asseco Prokom: Rasid Mahalbasic 12; Lukasz Koszarek.
Maccabi Electra – Elan Chalon, 78:73
Maccabi Electra nailed down their advancement to the Top 16 and in the process shut the down on Elan Chalon with a 78:73 win in Tel Aviv. The victory snaps a two-game losing streak by Maccabi. Elan took the advantage into the locker room at halftime, up by five, 38:43. The hosts, cut the lead down by three in the third to head into the last quarter down 58:60. If the first 30 minutes of this contest weren’t enough to get the crowd of over 11,000 at the Nokia Arena on their feet and into this battle, they most likely were in the Arena by mistake as the final 10 went back and forth and then down to the wire. The squads exchanged baskets for the first five minutes, with Elan knotting the score at 64 as the halfway point of the quarter ticked off. David Logan got a late quarter rally started for Maccabi with a three-ball to push the hosts up, 67:64. Logan’s lay-up inside three minutes to play put Maccabi back up by four and started an 8:0 run that finished off the challengers with under a minute left. Not to give up though, Brion Rush drained two triples nine seconds apart to cut the gap to four, but it was too little, too late and the Tel Aviv squad could start their celebration on their guaranteed advancement.
Maccabi Electra: Devin Smith 19; David Logan 17; Shawn James 10.
Elan Chalon: Brion Rush 17; Blake Schilb 12; Steed Tchicamboud 10; Shelden Williams 10.
Cedevita Zagreb – Anadolu Efes, 73:81
Anadolu Efes picked up a big road win to earn a spot in the Top 16 on Thursday. The loss, combined with the Caja Laboral eliminates Cedevita from any hopes of Top 16 advancement. Efes took the lead in the second quarter to take a 35:44 advantage into the dressing room at the half. Cedevita bounced back to cut the gap by five in the third to head into the last quarter down 55:59. They struck first in the fourth quarter to get to within one, but Efes got some key baskets early to build a lead that they could hold and earned themselves a spot in the next round. The loss also gave Olympiacos their ticket to the Top 16 without even stepping on the court in Week 8.
Cedevita Zagreb: Bracey Wright 24; Mickael Gelabale 18; Luksa Andric 12.
Anadolu Efes: Jordan Farmar 21; Sasha Vujacic 17;Kerem Gonlum 11; Semih Erden 10.
Caja Laboral – EA7 Emporio Armani, 64:62
Caja Laboral fought back from 17-points down to pick up a thrilling come-from-behind win at home against EA7 Emporio Armani, 64:62. Armani had a commanding 28:42 lead at halftime, only to see six points drop off that in the third to cut the gap to eight, 45:53, as they moved into the final frame. Caja rallied in the final 10 and with four seconds on the clock Thomas Heurtel drove the lane and dropped in the game-winner. The guests got the ball down the floor for an opportunity to win, but the three-ball put up by Gianluca Basile for the win at the buzzer fell way short and the hopes of Caja to make the Top 16 were still alive. The win improves Caja to 2-6, while EA7 drops to 3-5.
Caja Laboral: Fernando San Emeterio 17; Maclej Lampe 14; Thomas Heurtel 11.
EA7 Emporio Armani: Keith Langford 16; Omar-Sharif Cook 14; Ioannis Bourousis 11.
Brose Baskets – CSKA Moscow, 89:97
CSKA Moscow kept their hopes of winning Group D alive with an eight-point win over Brose Baskets in Bamburg. The win gives the Russian club a 7-1 record, one behind FC Barcelona’s perfect 7-0 mark. Brose drops to 2-6 with the loss, which keeps their opportunity to move on alive and well. Donte Christmas had some gifts for his club as he dropped in six of eight from behind the arc to pace the team with a game-high 21 points. Milos Teodosic added 19 points and a performance index rating of 25, which puts him in the hunt for the Week 8 MVP award. Casey Jacobsen tallied 18 for Brose in the loss.
Brose Baskets: Casey Jacobsen 18; Anton Gavel 16; Bostjan Nachbar 15; Teddy Gipson 10; Philpp Neumann 10.
CSKA Moscow: Dionte Christmas 21; Milos Teodosic 19 (25 PIR); Nenad Krstic 18 (22 PIR); Sonny Weems 16; Viktor Khryapa 11.
Partizan mt:s – Lietuvos Rytas, 75:74
Partizan mt:s gave the 7,000 friendlies that came to see their 1-6 club take on Lietuvos on Thursday an evening full of fierce battle as they took their Group D match-up down the the final buzzer. The win improves Partizan to 2-6 on the season and tied with Brose Baskets for the final spot in the group to advance to the Top 16. The two clubs are set to square off in Week 10 in a potential winner-take all contest in Bamberg. Partizan seemingly had this one in the bag with a 59:49 lead after 30, but the thing with these contests is they really expect the teams to finish out all 40 minutes before they declare a winner. Lietuvos took advantage of the fact that the last buzzer hadn’t gone off just yet and put together a 0:13 run late in the final 10 that put the guests up by one, 73:74. Drew Gordan brought the Partizan crowd to their feet with a backboard-shaking dunk to pull the hosts back into the lead with some authority. Ronnie Seibutis launched a triple moments before the final horn with hopes of a massive comeback win, but he couldn’t find the cords with the shot and the home club and their crowd got their much needed win. Lietuvos drops to 1-7 with the loss and still has a shot at the Top 16 if they can win their last two contests and get some help from higher up in the group.
Partizan mt:s: Davis Bertans 14; Vladimir Lucic 13; Dejan Musli 12; Dragan Milosavljevic 10.
Lietuvos Rytas: Nemanja Nedovic 16; Leon Radosevic 15; Renaldas Selbutis 12; Janis Blums 12; Dejan Ivanov 10.
Friday’s Games:[matches league_id=7 time=next limit=4 template=sumnoscore dateformat="M. j, Y"]
Photo courtesy Euroleague