It was an exciting week of Eurocup Round 2 action as sixteen games took place around the continent on Wednesday to wrap the second week of play. It was a round defined by plenty of close encounters, including two overtime victories and five games decided by three points or less.
French club Strasbourg defeated visitors CAI Zaragoza 88-86 after overtime to cap a miserable few days for the Spanish club. Zaragoza was left reeling after the death of former head coach Jose Luis Abos, but they gave a good account of themselves in difficult circumstances. However, Strasbourg is proving to be a team that takes it to the distance, claiming its second buzzer defying victory in two weeks. The teams were locked 74-74 apiece after regulation time, but Matt Howard tipped in as the buzzer sounded at the end of overtime to claim the victory for the French.
The Eurocup Round 2 brought a German derby game between Brose Baskets Bamberg and Telekom Baskets Bonn, although hosts Bamberg demolished their compatriots with a ruthless 104-79 display. The home team looked in control throughout, securing a 23-15 lead after 10 minutes and extending to 55-39 at halftime. In the third stanza Bonn crumbled further as the hosts won the frame before easing down the stretch in the fourth quarter. Ryan Thompson paced the winning effort with 22 points, while Brad Wanamaker had a good game with 16 points, 3 boards, and 10 assists.
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Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck collected its first win of the season by travelling to FoxTown Cantu and coming away with a narrow 77-78 victory. The Germans inflicted a second consecutive defeat on the Italian club as Cantu still looks to get off the mark in this year’s competition. There was never a significant lead built through the game as the lead exchanged hands regularly through the first three quarters, putting the scoreboard on 54-53 with 10 minutes to play. The hosts had the slight edge, but the visitors grabbed a victory with 38 seconds remaining, with Cantu unable to register a last gasp bucket.
It is two wins from two for Spanish club Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas as they gunned down Telenet Ostend 76-83 on the road. The Belgians yielded home court advantage and are now sitting bottom of Group B with a 0-2 record. The hosts had the better of the early quarters though, losing the first period 14-16 but exploding with a 28-16 run in the second, enough for a 42-32 halftime lead. Gran Canaria reeled in the double digit deficit through a big 15-24 third quarter before using the momentum to charge to the end buzzer and win the game in the fourth.
An all-French encounter saw ASVEL Lyon play host to Dijon in the Eurocup Round 2. After a very close match, visiting Dijon emerged victorious by a single point (77-78) to win its second game of the season. The away team opened a three point lead at the long break, with the board reading 34-37. Lyon responded with a 20-16 run in the third to lead 54-53 through thirty minutes. During a tense fourth quarter Dijon managed to make it a two play game with seconds remaining, killing the contest.
Virtus Rome shot down French visitors Sluc Nancy 84-79 at home to go 2-0 at the top of the group, while Nancy suffered its first loss. The visitors opened the game with a 0-8 run, but Rome hit back to tie the game 18-18 after 10 minutes. The hosts piled on the pressure in Q2 and managed to carve a 42-38 lead at the midway point. The game remained close throughout the third quarter as Nancy hit back to tie the contest 64-64 after half hour. Roma used the home crowd to draw inspiration down the final minutes and managed to hold on for the win. Kyle Gibson led the Italian team with 19 points, while Dylan Page grabbed a double-double for Nancy with 18 points and 10 boards.
Spanish club Sevilla remained unbeaten by handing Belgian outfit Spirou Charleroi a second consecutive loss, winning their encounter 80-75. The hosts never looked in doubt as they raced through the opening quarters 24-17 and 17-10 to lead 41-27 at the long break. In the third quarter the visitors improved and put together a huge stanza, pouring in 29 points to make it 55-56 in their favour through thirty minutes. A shell-shocked Sevilla recovered the closing frame and moved through the gears again to win the contest.
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Besiktas registered its first win of the competition with a solid 86-90 road win over Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, but needed overtime to do it. The Turkish team travelled to Russia’s second city and got off to a good start, winning the opening stint 19-23. Zenit responded through the second quarter, but after 20 minutes Besiktas led 44-45. The hosts had the better of the second half, but could only win it by a single point, tying the game 78-78 after regulation. In the added period the visitors opened a 4 point lead and held onto it to win the game. There were some big players on the night, with Chris Lofton nailing 32 points for the winners, while JuJaun Johnson backed him up by doubling 21 points and 12 rebounds.
VEF Riga opened its Eurocup account with victory over Szolnoki Olaj. The Latvian powerhouse welcomed the Hungarian team to Riga and sent them packing with a 71-61 victory, putting both teams on 1-1 at this early stage in Group D. Gerald Robinson was a key player for the hosts as he offered 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists on the night. Riga won the first quarter 16-9 before losing the second 26-27 and the third 16-18. After thirty minutes the opening frame had meant they still held a 58-54 lead and they managed to build on it on the way to victory.
There were no hook shot histrionics from Blaz Mahkovic as Union Olimpija Ljubljana slipped at home to Khimky, losing the game 85-88. A 23-20 opening stanza gave Union Olimpija an early advantage, but the Russian visitors had a hot second frame, winning the period 18-28. Losing 41-48 at halftime, the hosts needed a reaction and got it in the form of a 22-19 third quarter, putting the score on 63-67 at the last split. Khimky still had possession of the lead and despite the hosts’ efforts they held it to win the game in the final quarter.
Things are going from bad to worse for Partizan NIS Belgrade as the club slipped to another defeat, losing at home 61-77 to Turkish visitors Banvit Bandirma. The Serbian powerhouse has won just one game in all competitions this season and once again the manner of the defeat will be cause for concern. Banvit won every quarter of the game (18-19, 21-29, 14-19, 11-15) to dominate what on paper is a tricky encounter. Vladimir Dragicevic paced the winning team with 20 points and also pulled 5 off the glass.
It has been a good start to the season for Romanian juggernaut CSU Asesoft Ploiesti and they emphasised that by destroying Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 103-83 at home. Lithuanian giant Lietuvos Rytas are no pushovers, but they were overwhelmed in the first half and could not deal with the Ploiesti attack. The hosts commanded proceedings early on and led 56-38 at the midway split. One point winning margins in both the third (24-23) and the fourth (23-22) ensured the Romanians could celebrate a big win.
Hapoel Jerusalem slipped to a home defeat (their second consecutive Eurocup loss) against Russian club Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd, 78-79. Both clubs were in search of their first win this season, but it was Krasny who wanted it more during the opening minutes, pacing to a 19-25 lead after 10 minutes. A tied 20-20 second quarter meant the visitors maintained their six point cushion at halftime, the scoreboard reading 39-45. A big third quarter from the hosts (28-13) wrestled control back to hand Jerusalem a 67-58 lead with one stanza left. The Russians remained cool and put 10 points on the Israeli’s in the closing quarter, winning it 11-21 to steal the game at the death.
After this game between PAOK Thessaloniki and Stelmet Zielona Gora the two clubs are left with contrasting records. Greek hosts PAOK won the game 85-66 to remain undefeated (2-0), while Polish outfit Gora slipped to its second loss (0-2) in Group F. Buckets were exchanged through the opening frame, but PAOK emerged with a slender 21-20 lead. The hosts hit a rich vein in the second quarter and won the stanza 24-13 to hold a commanding 45-33 lead at halftime. The Greek contingent never looked back, and romped to a big win in front of the home fans.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar remained undefeated in the Eurocup this season after beating Ventspils 72-60 at home. Lokomotiv looked slick throughout the game and will certainly be among the teams to beat this season in the tournament. The hosts powered to a 39-32 halftime lead and extended it in the fourth after slipping during the third stanza. Anthony Randolph secured a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, while Derrick Brown offered 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Buducnost VOLI Podgorica failed to get off the mark in the competition by losing 79-82 to Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir at home. It was all looking so good for the hosts after the first quarter as the players had opened a 27-25 lead to cap a high scoring 10 minutes. The visitors clawed a point back through the second frame, stealing the period 16-17 for a halftime score of 43-42. The away team continued its momentum in Q3 and by the end of the stint had managed to take the lead (61-62 after 30 minutes on the hardwood). In the closing section Izmir extended further b repeating the 18-20 from the third quarter, winning the game in the process.