On February 12 & 13 2015, eight exciting matches were played to conclude the Top16 Round-7. Another 7 Rounds remain in Turkish-Airlines Euro-league before the big event enters the knock-out phase. There were edge-of-the-seat finishes in five out of eight games with results coming only in last 60 seconds. In each Group, there were two road winners and one away-game involved an upset victory by ALBA Berlin over defending champions Maccabi Electra. In individual performances, CSKA’s Nando De Colo was honored with the bwin MVP for January trophy even before CSKA Moscow’s huge 97-75 win over EA7 Emporio Armani on Friday night. De Colo celebrated the award by returning another brilliant performance to be declared as Top16 Round 7 bwin MVP as well. Against Emporio Armani, De Colo scored 18 points, provided 7 assists and finished with 4 steals. He reached a performance index rating of 29, which was the highest by any winning team player this week. However, highest performance index rating of 30 was secured by Nizhny Novgorod’s Art Parakhouski, who was irrepressible throughout the match against Olympiacos Piraeus but his brilliance could not prevent Nizhny’s 82-91 loss. Parakhouski scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting in addition to 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. ALBA Berlin’s Jamel McLean was the next player with the performance index rating of 25. McLean’s effort was the key factor in ALBA’s road win against reigning champions Maccabi Electra. He finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. In Round 7, six players were tied at the index ratings of 24. They included; Barcelona’s Tomas Satoransky, Real Madrid’s Rudy Fernandez, Laboral’s Fabien Causeur, Crvena Zvezda’s Boban Marjanovic, Armani Milan’s MarShon Brooks and Nizhny’s Taylor Rochestie. A brief rundown on the Round 7 matches is as follows.
Real Madrid bounced back again as Group E leaders after claiming an impressive 88-71 road victory over Zalgiris Kaunas at Lithuanian new town of Kaunas. Maccabi Electra’s upset loss to ALBA Berlin also helped Real, for whom Rudy Fernandez finished with 17 points including 3 third-quarter three-pointers. Felipe Reyes added 16 and Andres Nocioni 15. Zalgiris led by 6 points until late in second quarter but Real Madrid rallied to tie the score 47-47 at halftime. In the second half, Madrid’s solid defense allowed only 24 points to Zalgiris and that proved vital in the 17 point-lead in the end.
In another crucial match, Maccabi Electra’s 5-game winning streak was shattered by ALBA Berlin at Menora Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv. ALBA fortified their defense and allowed just 23 points in the second half. The visitors also benefitted from Maccabi’s poor free-throw percentage. Jamel McLean was ALBA’s star of the night as he scored some key baskets and led the winners with 18 points with 6 rebounds.
At Palau Blaugrana, FC Barcelona defeated the visiting Galatasaray Liv Hospital 82-70 in another Group E match. For FCB, Tomas Satoransky scored 17 points and Bostjan Nachbar added 15. In first half, Barcelona took a sizeable 52-39 lead but Galatasaray came back to cut it down to 71-68 at one stage. Towards close, however, the hosts improved their defense and came up with 11-0 straight run to clinch victory.
In the only Group E match on Friday, Panathinaikos Athens battled hard at home against Crvena Zvezda Telekom before scoring a 74-69 win. In first 10 minutes, Panathinaikos opened a 26-6 lead but Serbians’ strong second-half rally meant the visitors reversing it to a 65-60 lead until the closing stages. However, Panathinaikos came up with a sudden 14-4 spurt to close the game in their favor. For Panathinaikos, AJ Slaughter scored 16 points while Dimitirs Diamantidis added another 11 with 10 assists and 4 steals.
In the only Round 7 Group F game on Thursday, Olympiacos Piraeus defeated Nizhny Novgorod 91-82 on road. The hosts controlled the game for three quarters and began the fourth with a 66-63 advantage. But the visitors bounced back with renewed vigor in the last session with Georgios Printezis, Matt Lojeski and Vassilis Spanoulis finding the baskets with uncanny accuracy. With 4 minutes left, Olympiacos led narrowly at 79-78 but Printezis and Spanoulis enhanced that lead at crunch time. Printezis finished with 20 points, while Spanoulis added 13 with 6 assists. For Nizhny, Art Parakhouski played superbly in scoring 25 points and 11 rebounds.
On Friday, CSKA Moscow defeated EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 97-75. The victory show was stolen by Nando De Colo’s 18 points, 7 assists and 4 steals while Milos Teodosic scored 19 with 6 assists. It was Milan’s fourth straight loss in Top16. With this victory, CSKA now share Group F top spot with Olympiacos.
Third Group F match was an Istanbul derby that lived up to its expectations with Fenerbahce Ulker edging out Anadolu Efes in last 30 seconds to win at 77-71. For first 40 minutes, two sides kept trading lead before Fenerbahce produced a miraculous last-minute performance. With 60 seconds remaining, Stratos Perperoglou put Efes back in front before Fenerbahce’s Andrew Goudelock scored from the go-ahead triple. Then Ricky Hickman scored 4 of 4 free throws and Emir Preldzic and Nemanja Bjelica made steals to seal the victory.
In the last all-Spanish Group F showdown, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria beat Unicaja Malaga 79-74 to make it three consecutive home victories. After the match went from one side to another, the hosts finally took the lead with a third quarter 14-2 run thanks to consecutive triples from Fernando San Emeterio, Darius Adams and Fabien Causeur. After the 65-54 lead, the hosts kept in front until the final moment. Unicaja came up with a late charge but Laboral kept them at bay. Darius Adamas scored a career-high 20 points with 5 assists, while San Emeterio, Causeur and Tornike Shengelia added 12 apiece for Laboral.