EuroCup: Lokomotiv and Darussafaka take semi-final leads

EuroCup

The semi-finals of the 2017/2018 EuroCup got underway on an exciting evening of high-class Basketball on Tuesday. We are down to the final four clubs vying to win Europe’s second largest competition and book a place in next seasons EuroLeague. After leg one of the best of three series, one club took a big enough lead to suggest it will take a place in the final after Lokomotiv crushed Emilia at home. The other tie is more evenly poised even though Darussafaka holds a slender lead over Bayern Munich.

Leg two of the EuroCup semi-finals will be held on Friday (March 23) and a third game will be held if either of the series is tied. Any deciding legs will be played next Wednesday (March 28).

Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, 82-65

Once again, Lokomotiv showed it is on a seemingly unstoppable trajectory towards the EuroCup title. Indeed, it will take a monumental effort to stop the Russian club, and it does not look like Reggio Emilia will snap Lokomotiv’s amazing run. The Krasnodar club has won every single EuroCup game it has contested this season and extended that 100% record to 18 games here.

Lokomotiv now has 1-0 series lead to defend and build on when it travels to Italy on Friday. The hosts led 19-15 after 10 minutes and used an impressive second quarter run of 24-13 to carve a 43-28 lead through the long break. There was simple no way back into the game for Reggio Emilia. The visitors improved with a 20-23 winning third quarter, but Lokomotiv remained in control and wrapped the contest in the deciding frame.

Darussafaka Istanbul vs. Bayern Munich, 76-74

The other semi-final is much closer after the second leg. Darussafaka used its home advantage to open a slim two-point win before heading to Bavaria for the second leg on Friday. The Turkish club has travelled well this season, but Bayern Munich is strong at home. No-one should be surprised to this series move to a deciding leg next week. This one is still wide open and anything can happen.

Actually, Bayern Munich will be ruing a missed opportunity. The visitors dominated the first half in this contest and really should be heading to Germany with a 1-0 series lead. Bayern reeled off an 11-25 first quarter and then carried the momentum into a 19-22 second frame that made it 30-52 through halftime. For some reason the Munich contingent could not maintain the heavy scoring as Darussafaka emerged for the second half reinvigorated. The hosts took the third act 28-16 to cut the margin to 58-63 through thirty minutes before completing the comeback with an 18-11 fourth period that secured the win.

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