Playing away from home against Panathinaikos Athens, Group E leaders Fenerbahce Istanbul suffered their first Top 16 defeat last week. While 7 out of 8 games were decided in favor of home teams in Round-8, Real Madrid scored the lone road victory by defeating Brose Baskets Bamberg at Nuremberg. The other talking point from Round-8 matches was the performance of Lokomotiv’s Anthony Randolph, who apart from setting a club record, also tied for the fifth-best performance index in Top 16 history as Lokomotiv defeated Cedevita Zagreb. Summary of Round-16 games follows hereunder.
There are no longer any unbeaten teams in Top 16 after Fenerbahce Istanbul lost 71-76 against Panathinaikos Athens. While Fenerbahce suffered their first defeat, it was the fourth consecutive victory for Panathinaikos. In a close game, neither team could hold a lead larger than 8-points. The game itself was decided in the last minute after Panathinaikos held a narrow 72-71 lead. Then Panathinaikos’ first-time Euro-league player Elliot Williams sealed Fenerbahce’s fate with a layup and free throw. Elliot finished with 14 points, Miroslav Raduljica added 13 but Fenerbahce’s Udoh came up with 19 points and 3 blocks, all of which were wasted.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar crushed Cedevita Zagreb 87-63 at home on February 25. With a 6-2 score after 8 rounds, Lokomotiv looks certain to enter play-offs. On the other hand, it became 2-6 for Cedevita and their play-off chances have become very slim. Lokomotiv were helped by a superlative performance from Anthony Randolph, who scored 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. This is creditable because this is Randolph’s first Euro-league season. His performance index rating of 43 is the second-best of the season and he is tied for the fourth-highest in Top 16 history.
In another home win, Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul 91-82. In a close game, scores were tied on four occasions in fourth quarter alone. But after Dario Saric made it 73-73, Crvena Zvezda’s Nemanja Danjubic scored 5 times on trot in his team’s 14-2 charge. For the winners, Quincy Miller top-scored with 15 points while Maik Zirbes added 14 with 9 rebounds.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul outplayed Unicaja Malaga 78-55 for their second successive win in Top 16. The home side led all the way with Luke Harangody scoring 21 points and 8 rebounds that helped Darussafaka finish the third quarter at 59-45. With another 9-0 run in fourth quarter Darussafaka sealed Unicaja’s fate far earlier than the final buzzer.
In a Round-8 Russian Derby, CSKA Moscow defeated Khimki Moscow Region 108-98. With that, CSKA recorded their fourth consecutive win. The home team nailed an amazingly high number of 16 threes and led 53-46 at the break. The second half was dominated by Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic and the duo ensured that CSKA kept a double-digit lead at most times. Teodosic finished with 26 points while De Colo added 19.
In another thrilling home game, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria defeated Zalgiris Kaunas 71-65. At the end of third quarter, Laboral trailed 45-53 but in the last 10 minutes, Darius Adams took control and beginning with a three-pointer, led his team to a 6-2 record to join CSKA as joint top leaders in the Group. Adams finished with 17 points, and Ioannis Bourousis added 16 with 11 rebounds. For Zalgiris, Ian Vougioukas’ double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds were of no avail.
In the only road victory of the week, Real Madrid edged out Brose Baskets Bamberg 90-86 at Nuremberg. In the cracker of a game that saw three lead changes, the defending champions were tied with Brose Baskets with 69 seconds left. But with Felipe Reyes converting free throws, Madrid went through. Before the dramatic end, Bamberg had begun with a 12-0 lead, but Madrid rallied to reverse that with a 10-point margin in third quarter. For Madrid, Sergio Llull scored 21 points and Reyes added 18. However, 20 points scored by Bamberg’s Miller went in vain.
In a battle of two former Turkish Airlines Euro-league champions, FC Barcelona Lassa outplayed Olympicos Piraeus 82-66 at Barcelona on Friday. The victory assured Barcelona of a crucial tie-break advantage over Olympiacos, if both teams are tied up on points after all rounds are played out. The game looked close in early stages but Barcelona took control in second quarter with a brilliant work by Juan Carlos Navarro that afforded Barcelona a 45-31 halftime lead. Midway through the third quarter, Barcelona’s Brad Oleson and Stratos Perperoglou made the decisive difference and after that, Barcelona didn’t look back. Perperoglou scored 16 points; Tomas Satoransky added 14 and Navarro scored 13 more.