Matches in the second half of Top 16 Rounds in the Turkish Airlines Euro-League resumed after a week’s break with last Thursday and Friday witnessing all Round-8 encounters. Playing on their home turfs, Real Madrid and Olympiacos Piraeus ended the week as Group toppers. Last year’s champions Maccabi Electra broke a tie in their tough match against rivals Panathinaikos Athens to cling to second place behind Real Madrid. The second place in Group F is now taken by Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul ahead of CSKA Moscow. On individual front, Samardo Samuels of EA7 Emporio Armani Milan emerged as the most dominant player. He notched up 36 points and 9 rebounds in his team’s away-victory against Nizhny Novgorod with one of the best performances in Top 16 history making him as the rightful claimant for bwin MVP honor for Top 16 Round 8. His performance index rating of 47 was the best in the competition all season and he tied up for the third-best in Top 16 history. Samuels set a record for the most two-pointers made in a Top-16 game with 14 out of 16 throws. Not to be outdone, Samuels made 8 of 11 free throws and drew 12 fouls. The second-best Round-8 performance came from Boban Marjanovic of Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade with 35 index rating despite his team losing to Real Madrid. He had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks to make his fourth straight double-double. A brief run-down on all round-8 matches follows hereunder.
In first of the three matches played on Thursday February 26, 2015, Real Madrid defeated Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 85-61. For Real, Jaycee Carroll scored 17 points and Rudy Fernandez added 15. Despite the loss, Crvena Zvezda’s Boban Marjanovic excelled with 21 points and 13 rebounds. The hosts trailed 16-18 within 10 minutes from start but Sergio Rodriguez and Carroll ensured a 40-29 lead at halftime. This improved in third and fourth quarters to bring up the seventh victory for Real in eight matches.
In Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena, Maccabi Electra edged out Panathinaikos Athens 73-70 and broke the tie for second place in Group E. In a closely-contested game, Panathinaikos and Maccabi were neck-to-neck even in the fourth quarter, but late free throws from Jeremy Pargo and Joe Alexander ensured Maccabi’s victory in the end. Pargo led Maccabi with 16 points.
Leading from the start, Zalgiris Kaunas scored an impressive 72-59 home win over visitors Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul. Zalgiris opened with 18-3 lead and the visitors never came close at any point. Zalgiris’ Paulius Jankunas led with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
In the only Group E match on Friday, FC Barcelona beat ALBA Berlin 92-82 in overtime. For FCB, Justin Doellman scored 17 points, Ante Tomic 16 and Juan Carlos Navarro 14 while for ALBA, Alex Renfroe and Reggie Redding scored 20 each with Leon Radosevic adding 19, including the basket that sent the game to overtime.
In the first Group F match between EA7 Emporio Armani and Nizhny Novgorod, Samardo Samuels came up with one of the best Top 16 performances in Euroleague history for his team’s 85-76 win over Nizhny. Samuels missed just 3 shots in amassing 36- points, 9 rebounds and 12 fouls drawn. His performance index rating of 47 is tied for the third-best in Top 16 history.
In the first of Friday’s three games, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul surprised CSKA Moscow with a 81-75 victory that marked their seventh consecutive road win. Both teams have a 6-3 record, but since Fenerbahce has better points-difference advantage, they would occupy second place in the Group. For Fenerbahce, Andrew Goudelock and Jan Vesely scored 14 points each, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 13 while Nemanja Bjelica scored 11 with 13 rebounds. For CSKA, Nando De Colo scored 18 points, Milos Teodosic added 14 and Sonny Weems 13.
Olympiacos Piraeus benefitted from CSKA’s loss to go to the top in their Group after beating Unicaja Malaga in a tense 77-72 finish. It also turned out to be the 500th game in European competitions since 1960. Despite the halftime lead and coming within a single point late in the game, Unicaja suffered the loss, when Olympiacos’ Vassilis Spanoulis scored 7 of his 10 points in a decisive 10-3 run at finish. Other performers for Olympiacos were; Spanoulis with 10 assists, Georgios Printezis 13 points and Matt Lojeski 12. Unicaja got 13 points from Jayson Granger.
In the last Group F game on February 27, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria shocked Anadolu Efes Istanbul with a thrilling 87-84 away-win. Both teams have 4-4 records, but Efes have a tiebreak advantage with the victory in the Top 16 opener in Spain. For Laboral, Fernando San Emeterio scored 22 points, Colton had 17 with 11 rebounds and Davis Bertans added 14 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting. For Efes, Dario Saric scored 18, Thomas Heurtel added 17 and Nenad Krstic 16.