When a new season starts, you hope for some action and excitement to get you into the swing of things quickly. By the end of Thursday night, there had already been some great pieces of basketball play and Round 1 wasn’t even anywhere near being over with the Euroleague 2014/15 season. Championships and Play-Off places are not won in the opening game of the season but teams are always keen to get off to a good start and there will be some teams feeling very pleased with themselves this morning. Of course, it won’t be long until Round 2 and it begins all over again.
Anadolu Efes v Unics Kazan 82-76
This was a hard fought home win for the Turkish side, but it was a big win and one that could well have a big impact on the rest of the campaign. Dontaye Draper, a former MVP at the Eurocup, led the way with 16 points, which is a career high for the player in the Euroleague. This means that he has set a new bar for himself in the campaign and his team-mates will be offering plenty of encouragement to break that record time and time again.
Nenad Krstic grabbed 15 points, Matt Janning helped himself to 12 points and Stratos Perperoglou bagged 10 points. For Unics, Keith Lanford helped himself to 19 points while James White grabbed 13 points and 10 rebounds. Unics had a slow start and while they narrowed the gap at certain times, Efes managed to keep themselves in front and did more than enough in the end to deserve the victory.
Cedevita Zagreb v Unicaja Malaga 63-78
Winning on the road is part and parcel of the Euroleague campaign if you want to be successful and the team from Malaga enjoyed their trip to the capital of Croatia on Thursday night. From the second quarter of the match, Malaga were in full control and they never looked like relinquishing that lead for the rest of the game. Fran Vasquez helped himself to 13 points in the second quarter alone and at one point, the Spanish side had a 0-14 run, helping them to take a 36-47 lead into the half-time. In the second half, Zagreb never managed to get to within less than 7 points, allowing Malaga to see out the game in some comfort.
Ryan Toolson was the main man with 20 points for Unicaja while Vasquez had 13 points and 8 rebounds to his name. Miro Bilan delivered 15 points and 10 rebounds for the home side but it was all in vain as the Croatian side started their campaign off with a home defeat.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv v Limoges CSP 92-76
The current champions got off to a flying start with a 92-76 win over Limoges in Tel Aviv. Jeremy Pargo helped himself to 20 points and 9 assists, while Devin Smith was on a double-double before half-time. By the end of the game, Smith had 13 points, 12 rebounds and he also delivered two blocks. Sofoklis Schortsanatis and Brian Randle both got into double figures for points and Guy Pnini could look back on 9 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Adrien Moerman grabbed 17 points and 12 rebounds for the away team but it was the champions who were well on top throughout the game.
Valencia Basket v Olympiacos Piraeus 68-71
This was a tight one in Valencia and the home fans in the 8,500 crowd went home disappointed as their Greek opponents grabbed the win. Vassilis Spanoulis was the top man with 21 points and 5 assists while both Matt Lojeski and Kostas Sloukas delivered 14 points for Olympiacos. Luke Harangody also delivered 14 points for the home side.
With a minute of the game to go, Valencia squared it all at 68-68 but with Sloukas sinking three of his four three throws in the last 6.8 seconds of the match-up, it was the away team that enjoyed the thrilling climax.
Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade v Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul 76-68
The home team started strongly but a 0-12 run helped to put the Turkish team in control of the match, at least in the first half. The second half saw the home side step it up a notch or two and Boban Marjanovic picked up 22 points and 10 rebounds, easily winning the man of the game award. Marcus Williams helped himself to 15 points and 7 assists while Jaka Blazic played a strong role with 12 points. For the away team, Zoran Erceg picked up 17 points while Petrio Aradori delivered 11 points.
With some high scoring players and some late drama, Round 1 in the 2014/15 Euroleague is already whetting the appetite for the new campaign.