Round 10: Zenit advances, three Top 16 spots remain
Three more top 16 berths remain to be claimed going into the final night of the regular season as Zenit St. Petersburg joined the Top 16 party after four games on Tuesday of Round 10, the last one of the regular season. Zenit did so despite losing, but got help from Valencia Basket to book its Top 16 ticket from Group C. The final ticket in that group will be decided in a direct clash between Partizan NIS Belgrade and Turk Telekom. Partizan will need to win by 2 points or more in regulation time, or else Turk Telekom will advance. In Group B, Tofas Bursa stayed alive at least one more day by beating host Cedevita Zagreb, but to advance it would need Limoges CSP to lose on Wednesday. Also on Tuesday, in Group A, MoraBanc Andorra clinched second place with a win at AS Monaco.
MoraBanc Andorra assured itself of second place with an 87-80 victory over visiting group winner AS Monaco on Tuesday. MoraBanc finished the regular season with a 6-4 record while Monaco ended up 7-3. John Shurna's free throws and David Jelinek's triple broke a 77-77 tie with 3 minutes left to send MoraBanc forward to the win. Shurna led the victors with 17 points. Group A will find out its last qualifier on Wednesday when Germani Brescia Leonessa (3-6) hosts ratiopharm Ulm (4-5) in a head-to-head duel for this group's last Top 16 berth. Ulm can win, or lose by a point in regulation and still qualify, but a win of two points or more by the hosts in regulation time sends Brescia to the Top 16 instead. Ulm can also lose in overtime and qualify, but then it would need already-eliminated Galatasaray Istanbul to win its game against visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, which has its Top 16 qualification already. Zvezda will stay third unless it suffers a blowout loss and Ulm registers a blowout win.
Tofas Bursa gave itself a chance to reach the Top 16 with a 92-96 win over already-qualified host Cedevita in Zagreb on Tuesday. Tofas raised its Group B record to 4-6 as Dante Garrett scored 8 consecutive points of his team-high 20 down the stretch to put his team ahead for good. Cedevita's Elgin Cook poured in 32 points, the second-highest EuroCup total this season. Group B's final Top 16 spot will come down to whether Limoges CSP (3-6) can defeat last-place visitor Arka Gdynia (1-8) on Wednesday. Should it fail, Tofas would become the fourth and final qualifier. Meanwhile, first place in this group will go to the winner of Wednesday's other game, ALBA Berlin (7-2) vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (8-1).
Group C is down to one open Top 16 spot, as well, following two results on Tuesday. Despite losing 81-84 at home to LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in overtime, Zenit St Petersburg was able to advance later in the night when first-place Valencia Basket downed host Dolomiti Energia Trento 83-95. Second-place ASVEL followed Amine Noua's 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks to victory. Valencia used its three-point prowess to remain in excellent form going into the Top 16 as Matt Thomas and Rafa Martinez each scored 20 points. Group C's final spot will be settled when Partizan NIS Belgrade (3-6) and Turk Telekom Ankara (4-5) face off in the Serbian capital on Wednesday. Partizan must win by 2 or more points in regulation time to become the last Top 16 qualifier from the group, otherwise Turk Telekom advances.
With all the Top 16 spots and final places decided in this group, Round 10 amounts to a chance for both qualified and eliminated teams to try to end the regular season on a high note. All three games are on Wednesday, with fourth-place Rytas Vilnius (4-5) hosting eliminated Mornar Bar (2-6); third-place Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (6-4) vs. group winner UNICS Kazan (8-1); and second-place Unicaja Malaga (7-2) vs. Fiat Turin (0-9), which will try to end its winless season on a tough court on the road.