The final round of Eurocup Last 32 action for this season tipped off on Tuesday with a single game, with ALBA Berlin and Neptunas Klaipeda contesting for the final qualification berth in Group J. After a battle on the hardwood in the German capital, ALBA Berlin emerged victorious 76-62 to punch its ticket into the Eighthfinals.
Tomorrow the rest of Round 6 will wrap up the Eurocup Last 32 for another season and from here on out it is knockout hoops. There is still plenty to play for on Wednesday though, with six positions in the Eighthfinals still up for grabs over fifteen games around the continent.
ALBA Berlin vs. Neptunas Klaipeda, 76-62
ALBA Berlin rode a strong first half to down visiting Klaipeda in Germany on Tuesday to reach the Eighthfinals of the Eurocup. The victory means ALBA moves to 3-3 in second place in the Group J standings, with ARIS Thessaloniki able to tie the record tomorrow, but not progress because of an inferior head to head record.
ALBA took the first bucket after the tip off and led from there, using a 10-0 run in the first quarter to fuel a 22-14 lead through ten minutes. In the second frame the hosts continued to dictate by slowing the pace in offence and shutting down at the back. The result was a 19-7 winning period that handed the Berlin contingent a 41-21 lead through the long break.
Cruising with a double digit lead through halftime, the German’s slipped in the third act and opened the door for Neptunas, allowing the guests to win the stanza 19-23. Still, through thirty minutes the home team was cruising 60-44 and could afford to lose the fourth quarter 16-18 and still run out comfortable winners.
Robert Lowrey was hot for ALBA Berlin with a game high 24 points, while Ismet Akpinar added 13 points and Dragan Milosavljevic 11 points. Alex King was a presence off the boards with 12 rebounds.
Daniel Ewing kept Neptunas ticking with 17 points, followed by Travis Bader and Jerai Grant with 10 points apiece.
“There were many things I liked in our game and some I didn’t like, but today the win counted really more than anything else… Especially in our difficult situation, with all our injuries this is a great success. I hope that we get some injured players back in the next round and I am looking forward to an interesting series.” – Sasa Obradovic, ALBA Berlin head coach.