Six out of eight teams recorded victories on their home venues in Turkish Airlines Euro-League Basketball Round-11 matches last week. Those who recorded road wins were CSKA Moscow, the table-toppers and lowly-placed Brose Bamberg. Another feature of Round-11 games was wide margins of victories with just two games being decided within 5-point margins. CSKA Moscow continue to hold the top spot with 10 wins in 11 matches while Real Madrid and Fenerbahce Istanbul have 8 wins each. However, in a long drawn 30-Round Regular Season, lots of things can change as the tournament progresses further.
The most surprising Round-11 outcome was the road victory for German Club Brose Bamberg, who delivered an 85-70 shock home-loss for the hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. It was Bamberg’s first road win of the season that also broke their 5-game losing streak. For the winners, Nicolo Melli scored a career-high 27 points, 14 rebounds, 6 three-pointers and an amazing performance index rating of 40. Bamberg began with a bang and prevented Maccabi from scoring a single point in the first 4 minutes of the first quarter and first 3 minutes of the second. Later, Maccabi made amends with Andrew Goudelock scoring 20 points but to no avail. The only other road victory of Round-11 was snatched by competition leader CSKA Moscow, who outplayed the hosts EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 79-64. CSKA’s dominance came without two of their top stars; Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic. But CSKA trailed Milan 36-38 at halftime and it was only in the last two quarters that the visitors dictated terms. For CSKA, Dmitry Kulagin scored a career-high 14 points while Aaron Jackson also added 14 with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. For Milan, Miroslav Raduljica scored 11 points.
Besides Bamberg and CSKA’s road wins, all other teams scored victories at home. Fenerbahce Istanbul notched up their 4th consecutive win by defeating Crvena Zvezda MTS Belgrade 87-72. Ekpe Udoh was the top-scorer with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks and Jan Vesely added another 14. The Turkish champions improved to 8-3 on the season while Zvezda dropped their third straight game and slipped to 4-7. The closest result in Round-11 came in Anadolu Efes Istanbul winning 72-68 over FC Barcelona Lassa after surviving a late comeback by the Spanish Club. With 15 seconds left in the game, the scores were tied at 68-68. When Barcelona’s Bryant Dunston missed a free throw, Efes snatched the opportunity to record their third straight win to take the season’s tally to 6-5 while Barcelona stood at 5-6. For Efes, Jayson Granger scored 16 points with 5 assists while Thomas Heurtel added 14. For Barcelona, Tyrese Rice scored 22 points with 7 assists.
While Barcelona lost by 4 points, Real Madrid’s 96-91 win over Zalgiris Kaunas was another close result of the week. Madrid’s teen sensation Luka Doncic was the star performer. The 17-year-old Doncic walked off with his career best 17 points that included back-to-back three-pointers and his free throws ensured 8 of Madrid’s last 10 points. With that, Madrid’s standing improved to 8-3 while Zalgiris slipped to 3-8. In an emphatic result, Panathinaikos Athens scored an 85-58 victory over Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul and moved to 6-5 in the standings. For Panathinaikos, Nick Calathes, Kenny Gabriel and KC Rivers each scored 14 points and the duo of Chris Singleton and Mike James added 13 each. The game was nearly equal during the second quarter, when Panathinaikos barely led at 28-27. Later, however, they dominated all the way for a big victory.
In another match in Greece, Olympiacos Piraeus also scored a big 88-59 win over Unics Kazan and went up 7-4 for the season while Unics dropped to 3-8. For the winners, Matt Lojeski scored 15 points with 6 rebounds; Erick Green added another 15, Kostas Papanikolaou 12, Georgios Printezis 11, and Vassilis Spanoulis 10. In the last match of the week, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz recorded their fourth straight home win by defeating Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 73-52. That took Baskonia to 7-4 in the standings while Darussafaka dropped to 5-6. For Baskonia, Shane Larkin top-scored with 14 points and Rodrigue Beaubois added another 12. But a strong reason for Baskonia’s win was their solid defense that Darussafaka failed to penetrate.