There were just the three games on Thursday night in Round 5 of the Top 16 in the 2015/16 Euroleague. This means the majority of basketball fans across Europe will need to wait until Friday night to see their team in action but those that got involved with the Thursday night action would have found plenty to enjoy and look out for. We may have been short on quantity but we certainly weren’t lacking in quality.
Only one game took place in Group E on Thursday night but as it featured the only unbeaten side in the Top 16, there were plenty of eyes looking in to see if the home side were able to maintain their perfect start to this point of the campaign.
Fenerbahce Istanbul 86 – Cedevita Zagreb 73
The hosts are now 5-0 for the Top 16 after this strong victory in the Ulker Sports Arena. The game looked to be an easzy one for Fenerbahce when they notched an 18-0 scoring in the opening quarter and at half-time, the score line was 40-33. However, the team from Zagreb managed to rally and they were just one point behind in the third quarter. This seemed to re-energise the home team and in the final quarter of the game, Ricky Hickman and Kostas Sloukas grabbed back to back triples and the perfect run was well maintained.
Luigi Datome grabbed 19 points for the hosts while Ekpe Udoh offered up 17 points. Jan Vesely was able to provide 12 points, Hickam grabbed 11 points and 6 assists in total and Sloukas notched 11 points. For the losing side, Miro Bilan and James White both grabbed 13 points, Jacob Pullen offered up 12 points and Henry Walker notched 11 points in the defeat.
The results suggest that the two home teams in Group F on Thursday night had an easy evening but both of these games had their moments, and the opening half of both matches were quite even affairs.
CSKA Moscow 91 – Brose Baskets Bamberg 70
This was the German team’s second game in Moscow inside a week, and it was their second loss on Russian soil in this period. This ensured the home team bounced back to winning ways, and they move to a 3-2 record in Group F. The away team fall to a 2-3 record but they started strongly in this game, grabbing the opening ten points of the game. It didn’t take long for the hosts to hit their stride though and the returning Nando De Colo led the way. A big 28-5 scoring run in the second quarter ensured that the half time score was 55-34 and with CSKA Moscow picking up the opening 7 points of the second half, the hosts were able to cruise to victory.
De Colo grabbed 19 points in total, with 17 points coming in the first half; Milos Teodosic provided 14 points and 6 assists while Joel Freeland grabbed 10 points. Nikita Kurbanov just missed out on a double-double with 9 points and 10 rebounds. For the away team, Nikox Zisis grabbed 12 points, Elias Harris and Bradley Wanamaker both notched 11 points and Nicolo Melli provided 10 points in the defeat.
Real Madrid 84 – Olympiacos Piraeus 72
In the re-run of last year’s Championship game, Real Madrid took control of the game and moved to a 3-2 record in the group. The losing Greek side fell to a 2-3 record, all the more remarkable given that they won their opening two games in the group and have now lost three matches in a row. This was an exciting game that saw the lead change many times in the first half but at the end of the second quarter, the hosts went on a 12-2 run and led 41-35 at the break. A 13-0 scoring run at the start of the third quarter, driven on by Sergio Rodriguez, put the hosts in command and in the fourth quarter, Sergio Llull stepped up and saw the game home for the hosts.
Lull grabbed 18 points in total with 11 coming in the final 6 minutes and Gustavo Ayon helped himself to a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes both grabbed 11 points while Andres Nocioni managed to provide 10 points for the winning side. There was a double-double in defeat for Othello Hunter with 14 points and 11 assists, Daniel Hackett grabbed 14 points and Ioannis Papapetrou notched 12 points.