Euro-League BasketballAt the end of Turkish Airlines Euro-League Regular Season on December 18, 2015, the competition entered the Top-16 phase as the New Year approached. Round-1 matches were spread over two days on December 29 & 30, followed by Round-2 matches on January 7 & 8. After most home teams dominated proceedings in Round-1, the next round had some thrilling moments. After two Top-16 Rounds, 13 out of 16 teams have already tasted defeat. Fenerbahce Istanbul and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar in Group E and Olympicos Piraeus in Group F are the only 3 teams, which haven’t lost their matches so far. With the Round-3 scheduled for January 14 & 15, there will be only one undefeated team in Group E after Thursday because Fenerbahce take on Lokomotiv that day and one of them will lose. The gist of the first two rounds is presented below.


Group E


After Fenerbahce Istanbul scored an 82-75 home victory over Panathinaikos Athen, they traveled to Belgrade for Round-2 to take on Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade. The home team faced the heat of Fenerbahce’s dominance and lost the game 65-88. It was also Fenerbahce’s biggest road win since they blew out Opel Syliners 82-52 in the 2004-05 season. At halftime, Fenerbahce had established a double-digit lead, which was further consolidated with Jan Vesely’s fourth quarter effort. Vesely scored 15 points with 15 rebounds and tied the 5-block club record. For Fenerbahce, Luigi Datome scored 21 points while Bobby Dixon scored 17 with a career-high 11 assists and 5 rebounds.


Like Fenerbahce, Russian club Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar also dished out a solid Round-1 performance in their away game in Croatia, when they defeated Cedevita Zagreb 89-75. That game was dominated by Malcolm Delaney, who excelled after Cedevita led 27-22 at one stage in the second quarter. Delaney netted a career high 31 points in victory and reached a Performance Index Rating of 41. For their Round-2 game on January 8, Lokomotiv hosted Anadolu Efes Istanbul. That game turned out to be an edge-of-the-seat affair and only the final shot decided the outcome as Lokomotiv won at 78-77. Anadolu led 64-55 in the fourth quarter and once again, it was Delaney, who stole the show by scoring 12 out of his 25 points in the last 10 minutes. Delaney also added 5 rebounds and provided 5 assists. Supporting him admirably was Anthony Randolph, who scored 16 points with 9 rebounds. It was the second time in one week that Anadulu had been involved in a close game. In Round-1 at Istanbul on December 30, , where they edged out Crvena Zvezda 85-84. Anadolu’s hero in that match was Dario Saric, who produced the game-winning jumper with just 3 seconds left.



Unicaja Malaga looked like continuing with their fine Regular Season performance, when they defeated Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 70-62 in their Round-1 game on December 29 but in Round-2, Unicaja lost 66-68 against Panathinaikos Athens in another thriller of the week. Unicaja led until 11 seconds left, but Panathinaikos’ James Feldeine produced a triple and when Unicaja’s Jamar Smith missed at the buzzer, Panathinaikos went through.


Cedevita Zagreb lost their Round-1 match to Lokomotiv but, dished out an improved performance in Round-2 against Darussafaka Dogus at Istanbul to win at 79-72 last Thursday. It was a close game, where the lead got exchanged four times in fourth quarter itself. But with Cedevita’s Henry Walker scoring a three-pointer towards the end and Jacob Pullen coming up some crucial points, Cedevita scored their fourth away win this season. Pullen scored a career-high 25 points in victory.




On December 29, FC Barcelona Lassa began their Top-16 campaign with a 62-74 defeat against Olympiacos Piraeus at Athens but bounced back in Round-2 to rout Khimki Moscow 87-70 at home. Though Barcelona led 49-29 at halftime, Khimki rallied with an 11-2 fourth quarter threatening run. Regardless, Barcelona were rescued by Tomas Satoransky’s triple. Other Barcelona scorers were; Juan Carlos Navarro and Pau Ribas with 14 points each. In Round-1, Khimki had defeated CSKA Moscow 91-89 in an all-Russian thriller but couldn’t challenge Barcelona in Round-2.


Laboral Kutxa Vitoria had scored a smart road victory in Round-1 against Zalgiris Kaunas, whom they defeated 89-68. However, at home in Round-2, they suffered a 76-82 loss against Olympiacos Piraeus, for whom it was the second successive Top-16 victory. Olympiacos kept the pressure on Laboral in all quarters with Vassilis Spanoulis scoring 19, Othello Hunter adding 17 and Georgios Printezis sinking another 15.


Defending champions Real Madrid began with a thrilling 82-79 Round-1 victory over Brose Baskets Bamberg on December 30 but lost 81-95 in Round-2 to CSKA Moscow at Moscow. Nando De Colo was the top-scorer with 28 points while Milos Teodosic added 23. Real had their chances midway through the final quarter but after they missed a three-pointer, it was CSKA all the way.


Brose Baskets Bamberg, who lost to Real Madrid in Round-1; played a dominating home game in Round-2 to beat Zalgiris Kaunas 96-63. It was the first ever Top-16 win for Brose Baskets, in which 6 players came up with double-digit scores led by Jan Strelnieks’ 19 points. Nikos Zisis added 18 and Nicolo Melli came up with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.