7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 Round 3: Tight at the halfway point
The 7DAYS EuroCup Top 16 reached its halfway mark and it is as close as any basketball fan could hope for. There are three-way ties for first place in two groups and in another, the teams separated by one win in second and third place face off next week! In Tuesday’s three games, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar held on for its 13th straight win this season, Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia claimed an important road win in Russia and Herbalife Gran Canaria was on fire in a rout in Istanbul. And on Wednesday, all five home teams won, including two with coaches debuting.
Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul remained undefeated atop of Group E by using a big second half to beat the visiting ALBA Berlin 82-70 on Wednesday night. Darussafaka improved to 3-0 in sole possession of the first place, and could clinch a place in the quarterfinals with a win next week when it visits ALBA, which dropped to 1-2 record. ALBA led 37-44 late in the second quarter, but Darussafaka trimmed the deficit before halftime then opened the third quarter with a 15-4 spurt to open a double-digit margin and never look back. Scottie Wilbekin led a balanced Darussafaka offense with 15 points, while Howard Sant-Roos had 11 point, 6 assists and 6 steals in victory. Peyton Siva netted 21 points, along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists for ALBA. On Tuesday, Herbalife Gran Canaria recorded one of the best long-range shooting displays in club history in routing Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul 86-108 at Sinan Erdem Dome. D.J. Seeley led six Gran Canaria scorers in double figures with 19 points as the visitors led from tip to buzzer to improve to 2-1 in Group E. The loss kept Galatasaray winless in the Top 16. Six players made at least 2 three-pointers for the visitors, who combined to make 14 of 21 shots from downtown in setting a club record for three-point accuracy at 66.7%. DeJuan Summers led Galatasaray with 21 points.
FC Bayern Munich moved to the top of Group F by outgunning previously unbeaten visitor Zenit St. Petersburg 95-78 on Wednesday. Both teams are now 2-1 in the group and face each other again next week. In an amazing coincidence, Devin Booker matched career highs of 27 points and 38 performance index rating that he had set against Zenit back in 2016. He matched another career high with 5 assists, too. Milan Macvan added 14 points, while Nihad Dedovic, Reggie Redding and Jared Cunningham had 11 each for the winners. Kyle Kuric of Zenit outscored everyone with 31 points. Fiat Turin joined the three-team tie atop the group by holding off Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 83-77 later Wednesday. It was Fiat’s second home win in the Top 16 and dropped Rytas to 0-3. The hosts took control with a 15-0 second-quarter run behind Sasha Vujacic and Lamar Patterson, and held a 19-point lead early in the third quarter before Rytas rallied. The visitors came within 2 points in the fourth quarter, but Diante Garrett fueled another Fiat run, pushing the lead back in to double figures. Vujacic paced the winners with 21 points, and Patterson collected 20 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Rokas Giedraitis scored 20 points for Rytas.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar remained undefeated in the 2017-18 7DAYS EuroCup by downing Cedevita Zagreb 69-64 on Tuesday. Lokomotiv improved to 3-0 in the Top 16, while Cedevita dropped to 0-3. Frank Elegar led the winners with 20 points and 9 rebounds and Trevor Lacey added 19 points. A jumper by Dmitry Khvostov capped a 15-0 run that bridged the halftime break and gave the hosts a 44-28 lead, which peaked at 20. Roko Ukic and Zganec brought Cedevita back to life and the visitors clawed their way to within 65-64 with 22.5 seconds to go. However Ryan Broekhoff hit free throws for Lokomotiv and Cedevita forward Damir Markota missed from downtown a few seconds before the final buzzer. Buducnost VOLI Podgorica took over second place with a tipoff-to-buzzer 79-66 win over visiting Dolomiti Energia Trento on Wednesday. The victory raised Buducnost to 2-1 and dropped Trento to 1-2. Buducnost blasted off to a 31-14 lead that was even higher, 49-31, at the half. Trento surged within 56-51 with a great start to the third quarter, but Buducnost steadied itself to prevail by double digits. Kyle Gibson led the winners with 17 points and Nikola Ivanovic added 16. For Trento, Dominique Sutton was everywhere with 26 points and 8 rebounds.
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia made a statement in Round 3 by holding off UNICS Kazan 69-71 on the road on Tuesday. Both teams now hold 2-1 records halfway through the Top 16. Reggio Emilia trailed 49-42 midway through the second quarter, but Amadeo Della Valle scored all of his 13 points after that as the visitors re-established the lead and then prevailed in a dramatic final minute thanks to game-winning free throws by Della Valle 20 seconds before the end. Quino Colom had a late chance to win it for UNICS, but missed twice. James White paced the winners with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Jamar Smith led UNICS with 15 points. ASVEL Villeurbanne made new head coach T.J. Parker’s debut a successful one by beating up on French League rival Limoges CSP 92-78 on Wednesday night. ASVEL joined the three-way tie for first place in the group at 2-1, while Limoges fell to 0-3. Eight different ASVEL players made three-pointers as the team shot 11 for 23 from downtown (47.8%) in one of the keys to the victory. Darryl Watkins paced the winners with 17 points and 7 rebounds. The hosts took charge with a 13-0 first-quarter run, led by 7 at halftime and increased the margin to double figures early in the third quarter en route to a convincing win.