Regular Season, Round 6: The gates to the Top 16 open
Round 6 started the second half of the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season and saw the three undefeated teams - Darussafaka Istanbul, FC Bayern Munich and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar – win and qualify for the Top 16. A few other teams put themselves in position to advance in Round 7 as the race to the Top 16 heats up across all four groups.
Darussafaka Istanbul became the first team to qualify for the EuroCup Top 16 by overwhelming Levallois Metropolitans 100-67 at home on Wednesday. Darussafaka improved to 6-0, while Levallois dropped to 1-5. Scottie Wilbekin led the winners with 20 points and 6 assists in just 22 minutes. JaJuan Johnson added 17 points for Darussafaka. Boris Diaw led Levallois with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Darussafaka outrebounded Levallois 34-25, forced the visitors into 18 turnovers and hit 32-of-48 two-point shots (66.7%). UNICS Kazan won its fourth game of the season by downing MoraBanc Andorra at home, 89-80, on Wednesday. UNICS took its record to 4-2, while Andorra dropped to 1-5. Jamar Smith led the winners with 21 points, Trent Lockett posted 17 and Stephane Lasme added 16, including his first three-pointer in 29 EuroCup games. For Andorra, Jaime Fernandez led the losing effort with 16 points. UNICS started dominating by 20-point leads, but a 2-18 run by the visitors made it 71-77 in the last quarter until Smith's points put the hosts in a safe place for good. In the last game in this group, Cedevita Zagreb dominated from start to finish in a big 65-87 road win against Fiat Turin. Both teams now hold 3-3 records and a share of third place in Group A standings, but Cedevita holds a tiebreaker as it overcame a 3-point opening round loss against Fiat. The visitors, who shot 12-for-21 from long range on the night, stormed out of the gate, held an 18-point lead after 10 minutes and never looked back. Kevin Murphy led in victory with 24 points on 5-for-7 three-point shooting.
FC Bayern Munich became the first team to qualify to the Top 16 from Group B when it topped Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 86-78 at home on Wednesday. Bayern improved to 6-0 and dropped Galatasaray to 1-5. Reggie Redding led the winners with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Devin Booker added 17 points for Bayern. Dwight Hardy paced Galatasaray with 16 points. Galatasaray rallied from a double-digit deficit to get within 78-76, but Milan Macvan, Jared Cunnigham and Redding stepped up to seal the outcome down the stretch. In an exciting game that went down to the final minutes, Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia snapped its two-game losing streak by downing Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 77-71 at home. Reggio Emilia and Buducnost now have 3-3 records. Landing Sane and Manuchar Markoishvili led the winners with 17 points apiece and Amedeo Della Valle added 14 and 6 assists. Nemanja Gordic scored 20 for Buducnost, which led 63-65 midway through the fourth quarter before Markoishvili, Sane and Della Valle stepped up in crunch time. Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem got back into the winning groove under new head coach Mody Maor by rallying to defeat visiting Lietkabelis Panevezys 93-81 on Wednesday. Jerusalem improved to 2-4, while Lietkabelis dropped to 3-3, but was able to retain its head-to-head advantage in a potential tie-break after having won its home game between the two by 14 points. Jerusalem trailed 50-60 after 26 minutes, but followed veteran Yotam Halperin and newcomer Kalin Lucas to outscore the visitors 43-21 the rest of the way. Richard Howell had 19 points for the winners and Jerome Dyson 18.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar punched its Top 16 ticket on Wednesday night as it remained undefeated thanks to an 81-55 home win over Limoges CSP. The win lifted Loko to 6-0, while Limoges dropped to 2-4. Trevor Lacey and Ryan Broekhoff led the winners with 12 points apiece. The hosts used a 14-3 second-quarter run to make it 44-25 at the break and coasted the rest of the way. On Tuesday, ALBA Berlin improved to 5-1 and took a decisive step toward qualifying for the Top 16 by downing Partizan NIS Belgrade 80-96 in the Serbian capital. ALBA grabbed its fourth consecutive win, while Partizan dropped to 1-5. Spencer Butterfield and Marius Grigonis led the winners with 20 points apiece. Grigonis shined early in the second quarter and got plenty of help from Denis Clifford and Butterfield to give the visitors a 40-54 halftime lead. Butterfield had 11 points of his 20 points right after the break to boost his team's cushion to 45-68 and ALBA cruised the rest of the way. Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius avenged an opening night loss with an important win on Wednesday at RETAbet Bilbao Basket, 79-96. The win took Rytas’s record to an even 3-3 and saw RETAbet’s losing streak grow to five games with a 1-5 record. Chris Kramer led the winners with a career-high 27 points, Rokas Giedraitis added 14 and Loukas Mavrokefalidis had 13 and 7 rebounds.
Zenit St Petersburg remained undefeated at home in the EuroCup by holding off Herbalife Gran Canaria 90-85 on Tuesday at Yubileyny Sports Palace. The victory lifted Zenit to the top spot in Group D with a 4-2 record, while Gran Canaria slipped to 3-3. Sergey Karasev turned in a fine all-around performance with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks to lead the winners. Scottie Reynolds got the hosts going with 10 first-quarter points before he too netted 21 points and dished 6 assists. ASVEL Villeurbanne bested Dolomiti Energia Trento 79-67 at home. ASVEL improved to 3-3 in the standings while Trento dropped to 2-4. ASVEL will also have the tie-break advantage if both teams finish the regular season with the same record, because Trento recorded a 10-point lead in Italy. Amine Noua led the winners with 15 points. On Wednesday, Tofas Bursa downed ratiopharm Ulm 100-84 at home in a fun-to-watch, run-and-gun showdown. Tofas improved to 4-2 in the standings, while Ulm dropped to 2-4. Pierria Henry led the winners with 26 points, 7 assists and 5 steals and Tony Crocker added 22 points on 6-of-7 three-point shooting. Trey Lewis struck three times from downtown in a 0-16 Ulm run that put the visitors in charge, 26-33. Sammy Mejia, Josh Owens and Crocker fueled a 14-2 run that gave Tofas a 49-47 edge at halftime. Crocker downed three bombs from beyond the arc early in the third quarter and got help from Mejia and Henry to boost Tofas's margin to 74-67 after 30 minutes. Henry took over early in the fourth quarter with 11 quick points to seal the outcome.