The Eurocup has already thrown up thrills and spills aplenty throughout the season and the Quarterfinals are continuing that trend. Game 1 of this phase as now passed and fans around Europe were treated to high class Basketball as teams jostle to carve a path to the Semifinals.
Home court advantage has proved pivotal so far with three of the four games this week going in favour of host teams. However, with Game 2 still to come and aggregate scores to think of, there is no club down and out and there is much to fight for when the competition recommences on March 26th.
Budivelnik vs. Cr. Zvezda Telekom, 82-79
Budivelnik kiev had to tackle Crvena Zvezda in Zalgiris Arena, Lithuania due to the ongoing troubles in Ukraine. However, the club managed to pick up a win before next week´s decider in Serbia. The narrow margin of the victory will mean that both teams will feel confident next week, and the series really is up for grabs.
Aykon TED Ankara vs. Unics Kazan, 68-81
The only road win of the week fell to Unics Kazan as the Russian club defeated Aykon TED Ankara and in the process opened a commanding aggregate lead. Chuck Eidson scored 21 for the winning effort as the visitors led throughout the game, taking a 30-40 lead into halftime. Eidson bookended a 0-13 run that all but ended the contest during the first half as Unics continued what has been an impressive Eurocup campaign. TED Ankara could barely keep up during the second half as the hosts conceded even more points to a rampant Kazan.
The win sees Unics put one foot in the Semifinals with a favourable 13 point cushion. Turkish club Ankara will have it all to do when they visit Russia next week, needing to overturn a large deficit and win by 14 points to progress.
Valencia Basket vs. Alba Berlin, 86-54
Valencia Basket all but booked its place in the Eurocup Semifinals with a crushing defeat over ALBA Berlin at home. The manner of the victory is impressive considering the fine form of the German club in recent weeks. However, Valencia showed championship quality by putting 32 points on their opponents to all but seal qualification to the next round.
The resounding success told other clubs around the continent that Valencia will be one of the teams to beat at the business end of the competition. The victory for the Spanish club was built by a blockbuster 23-0 run that started with four points in the first stanza and ended with 19 consecutive points to start the second. The powerful display gave the hosts a massive 51-22 lead at halftime, and it was an advantage the Spaniards would keep throughout the second half. ALBA found renewed scoring in the second half, but Valencia kept consistently nailing baskets to lead by 39 points during the fourth quarter. Berlin tempered the raging form of Valencia down the stretch, but it was still a destructive margin by the final buzzer.
Justin Doellman reeled off 21 points in that blockbuster first half and powered on to 33 points overall to pace Valencia. Heading to Germany next week, ALBA will need to win by 33 points to progress to the next round, something that is unlikely to happen on this evidence.
Hapoel Jerusalem vs. Nizhny Novgorod, 81-78
Two of the games on Wednesday all but settled their respective series´ but next week´s clash between Hapoel Jerusalem and Nizhny Novgorod will provide a contest where all is to play for. Hapoel managed to scrape a home win in Game 1, but the three point advantage is hardly enough to guarantee passage to the next round. While Novgorod will no doubt be unhappy in defeat, the Russian club will have a chance to put it right at home next week.
Hapoel left is late to steal victory, using a buzzer beating triple Yotam Halperin to prevent the game being tied after regulation time. The game was extremely close throughout with no group of players asserting enough dominance to take control of proceedings. Art Parakhouski stood out for Jerusalem with a splendid personal display that included 18 points, 8 rebounds, and a Eurocup QF record 5 blocks. Primoz Brzec and Dijon Thompson kept Nizhny in the series with 21 points and 8 rebounds each.