At the end of Round-3 games in Turkish Airlines Euro-league Basketball on January 14 & 15, Fenerbahce Istanbul remained the only Top-16 team that is still undefeated. Playing on home turf on January 14, Fenerbahce had to produce their best game in the fourth quarter against Russia’s Lokmotiv Kuban Krasnodar. Fenerbahce trailed 51-60 as the last quarter began but scored 34 points in 10 minutes to win at 85-79. In other Round-3 highlights, Olympiacos Piraeus suffered a home loss against the unheralded Brose Baskets Bamberg and Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade also scored a road victory at the expense of another Greek club Panathinaikos Athens. Except these two road wins by Brose baskets and Crvena Zvezda, the home teams emerged triumphant in remaining six Round-3 matches, spread over two days. A summarized account of Top-16 Round-3 games follows.
The Game of the Week was played between two hitherto unbeaten teams; Fenerbahce Istanbul and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar. For most part Lokomotiv looked like the winners as they led 45-37 at halftime and had a 9-point lead as the last quarter began. Then the 10-minute period produced intense fight. The lead changed 5 times and the game got tied on 4 occasions. In one final push, Fenerbahce’s Bogdan Bogdanovic and Luigi Datome ensured that their team came on top with an 85-79 win. Bogdanovic ended with 18 points and 5 assists, Jan Vesely added 17 with 7 rebounds and Datome scored 16. An appreciative effort from Lokomotiv’s Victor Claver, who scored 5 out of 5 times from behind the arc in his 21 points and 7 rebounds; went in vain.
The only road victory in Group-E was credited to Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade, who defeated Panathinaikos Athens 74-63 at Athens. Crvena Zvezda never lost their grip in the match after the second quarter and always kept in front of the home team. Zvezda’s Maik Zirbes was the top scorer with 12 points and Stefan Jovic added 9 with 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
Playing on home turf, Unicaja Malaga scored a resounding 90-67 victory over Cedevita Zagreb. The Spanish club led all the way from the first minute until the buzzer and improved to 2-1 to share the second place with Lokomotiv. Unicaja’s Mindaugas Kuzminskas led the scoring with 17 points and Daniel Diez added another 16 in victory.
In the only Group-E fixture on January 15, Anadolu Efes Istanbul defeated Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 84-71. Though, Darussafaka held a 5-point lead in the first quarter, Anadolu reversed that in the second quarter and pulled away with impressive third and fourth quarter scores. For Anadolu, Jayson Granger scored 15 points and Cedi Osman added 12.
In the only Group-F match played on January 14, CSKA Moscow defeated FC Barcelona Lassa 93-82 at Moscow. CSKA didn’t have the services of Nando De Colo, Joel Freeland, Victor Khryapa and Pavel Korobkov but that didn’t deter the home side in winning against Barcelona. CSKA scored from 16 three-pointers and held a firm grip on the match from second quarter onwards. Though Barcelona won the third quarter 23-17, which was not enough in the end. Cory Higgins was CSKA’s top-scorer with 20 points, while Andrey Vorontsevich and Milos Teodosic added 16 each.
In another game in Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region beat Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 76-68. Though the game was tied 39-39 at halftime, Khimki improved their defenses and didn’t allow Laboral any easy scoring. Alexey Shved led Khimki with 24 points, James Augustine added 22 and Tyrese Rice came up with 13 assists.
Defending champion Real Madrid defeated Zalgiris Kaunas 92-86 at Madrid. It was a debut game for Zalgiris’ new coach Sarunas Jasikevicius but his first outing proved disappointing. For Real, Felipe Reyes top-scored with a career high 24 points after his 243 Euro-league games, Gustavo Ayon added 16 with 15 rebounds and 3 blocks. Though Zalgiris rallied to 45-42 at halftime, Real tightened their defense in third and fourth quarter to finish with an impressive victory.
Brose Baskets Bamberg caused an upset in Round-3 by beating Olympiacos Piraeus 77-72 at Athens. This road victory took Brose Baskets to the top in their Group. The visitors were led by Darius Miller and Janis Strelnieks, who netted 23 and 15 points respectively in the historic victory. The hosts attempted a rally and cut the deficit to 74-72 at one stage, when Vassilis Spanoulis scored from a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining but Bamberg held on as Brad Wanamaker sealed the famous victory with free throws before the buzzer.
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