Euro-League BasketballOver two days on January 8 & 9, 2015, another 8 matches were played for the Round-2 action in the Turkish Airlines Euro-league. Except Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, no other visiting team could score victory in the away games. The matches were fiercely fought with three teams notching up over 90 points and in five matches, the lower scores went past 62 points. All in all, seven second round of Top 16 matches brought cheers for the home fans, who rejoiced in the victory of their heroes. However, Nizhny Novgorod disappointed the fans at home, when they lost comprehensively against the visiting Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul. At the end of second round matches, Real Madrid ended as Group E toppers with 2-0 record while three teams; Olympiacos Piraeus, CSKA Moscow and Anadolu Efes Istanbul finished with joint toppers in Group F with an undefeated record thus far.

In Group E matches, the game between Real Madrid and Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul at Madrid’s Barclaycard Center on January 8 was an attractive contest. Despite conceding an early 25-27 lead early in the second quarter, Real bounced back in the match with fine efforts from Felipe Reyes, Andres Nocioni, Marcus Slaughter and Sergio Rodriguez. This combined charge from these four ensured that the hosts ended the second quarter at 55-39. From this point onwards, Real Madrid kept a keen eye on the game and ended the match as 93-78 winners.

Playing on their home ground at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena, 2014 champions Maccabi Electra defeated Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade 78-67. Maccabi had established a 10-point lead in the second quarter but Crvena Zvezda narrowed the gap down to 37-33 at halftime from efforts by Nikola Kalinic. As the third quarter began, Kalinic helped his team go into the lead early on, but Maccabi applied pressure through Brian Randle, who ended the day with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. For Maccabi, Sofoklis Schortsanitis added another 15 points as the hosts finally finished the game with an 18 point difference.

In another see-saw Group E encounter, Zalgiris Kaunas defeated ALBA Berlin 75-62 but ALBA hoopers matched Zalgiris, every time they took a double-digit lead. The hosts had a slender 53-51 lead early in the fourth quarter and even with 2½ minutes left, Zalgiris led only by 64-60. But the dying minutes’ charge in which the hosts scored 11 to 2 by ALBA enhanced their victory margin.

At Barcelona, hosts FC Barcelona managed to keep off Panathinaikos Athens at bay by a slender 80-76 margin. For FCB, Marcelinho Huertas produced a memorable performance in the third quarter by hitting 6 three-pointers in 10 minutes. But Panathinaikos didn’t surrender as they were just one point behind at 77-76 with less than two minutes left. Barcelona could increase their lead to 4 points at finishing stages through DeMarcus Nelson and Justin Doellman.

In the Group F matches, CSKA Moscow beat Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 99-90 at Moscow. For the hosts, Sonny Weems led the scoring with 22 points and 8 rebounds, Milos Teodosic added another 18 points and Nando De Colo scored 17 points with 8 assists. However, Laboral rallied after halftime to come close at 81-77 but Weems, De Colo and Teodosic stepped up the pressure towards the end to ensure victory for the hosts.

In the Turkish Airlines match of the week, Olympiacos Piraeus outplayed EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 81-58 at Athens. Though the visitors led early, the hosts cut back with fine efforts from Brent Petway, Oliver Lafayette and Matt Lojeski. Petway and Lafayette each scored 13 points with Lojeski adding another 12. Lojeski also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

In the only away-victory of the second round on Friday, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul beat the hosts Nizhny Novgorod 78-60. For the Turkish team, the victory charge was dominated by Andrew Goudelock and Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose combined score was 40, of which Goudelock scored 23 and Bogdanovic 17. Istanbul also had a solid defense to deny the home team any advantage.

In the last round 2 game, Anadolu Efes Istanbul beat Unicaja Malaga 74-70. For Anadolu, Matt Janning scored 17 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and the heroic efforts from Dontaye Draper in final two minutes to score 5 out of his 13 points, which made all the difference. The Malagans led 34-49 at the break but Janning, Draper and Stratos Perperoglou each scored twice at the end of third quarter to tie the game, 57-57. Later however, Anadolu mounted the charge and emerged as victors.