If you wanted big shocks, games in overtime and breath-taking stuff from beginning to end, Friday night’s Euroleague action was exactly what you were looking for. This was a night when players realised that there is a need to put down a marker for the latter half of the campaign and things look as though they are starting to get serious in the Euroleague.
On Thursday night, it was Group E that took the focus but on Friday the 27th of February, it was Group F, with 3 games that spent most of the time in the spotlight, although the Group E game was a nail biter right to the end. Both of the groups had plenty of excitement and drama on offer though in what was another pulsating night of European basketball.
FC Barcelona 92 – Alba Berlin 82
It needed overtime to separate these two sides but in the end, a 92-82 win sees Barcelona slip into a 5-3 record, while Alba Berlin fall to a 3-5 record. This means that Barcelona have a two win lead over both Alba and Zalgiris Kaunas, who are joint in 5th place.
Justin Doellman was the main player for the Catalan side, grabbing 17 points while Ante Tomic offered up 16 points. Juan Carlos Navarro provided 14 points for the winners while Tomas Satoransky and DeShaun Thomas both provided 11 points for the home side. Reggie Redding and Alex Renfroe both offered up 20 points apiece for the leaders while Leon Radosevic grabbed 19 points.
It was a game that started slowly and at half-time, the Catalans were ahead by 8 with a 40-32 lead. Barcelona looked to have split the game wide open with Tomic leading the way in a 10-0 run but with a minute to go, Alba had battled back to 73-72. A Redding three pointer saw the game levelled at 75-75 with less than 20 seconds on the clock but there was still time for more drama with Doellman and Leon Radosevic grabbing vital points. In OT, Satoranksy and Navarro took control to give the home side a vital and deserved win.
Olympiacos Piraeus 77 – Unicaja Malaga 72
The occasion of the 500th European game played by Olympiacos was a celebration, but it was also a tense game that allowed Olympiacos to move to a 7-1 record, moving them to the top of Group F. Unicaja now move to a 1-7 record at the foot of the table but they will look back on this one as an opportunity missed. They were in the lead for the first half and they were within one point with less than 7 minutes on the clock.
This was the time when Vassilis Spanoulis decided to turn the game and he led a 10-3 run with 7 points and an assist. Over the course of the game, Spanoulis grabbed 18 points and 10 assists while Georgis Printezis offered 13 and Matt Lojeski grabbed 12 points. Jayson Granger provided 13 points but it wasn’t enough to keep the Spanish side in contention to the end.
Anadaolu Efes Istanbul 84 – Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 87
In what turned out to be a massive away win, both sides now find themselves locked on a 4-4 record and tied in fourth place. This was a cruel loss for Efes but they know that they have an advantage of Laboral thanks to the tie-breaker, which is down to their five point win in Spain back in the first group game of the Top 16.
Fernando San Emetrio offered 22 points for the winners while Colton Iverson provided a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Davis Bertain also offered 14 points for the away team in this crucial victory.
The Spanish side got off to a flying start and they maintained their dominance through to half-time, where they held a 17-30 lead. Matt Janning and Thomas Huertel were instrumental in dragging the hosts back into the and in the third quarter, Nenad Krstic slam-dunked to make it 63-62 for the hosts. This set up a stunning finish and the home crowd were shocked when the away side went on a 0-8 run and although Efes rallied at the end, and held possession in the last minute, they were unable to complete the job. Dario Saric provided 18 points for Efes, Heurtel grabbed 17 points, Krstic provided 16 and Janning offered up 11.
CSKA Moscow 75 – Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 81
Things are not coming as easily or as naturally for the Moscow side as they were earlier on the campaign and this away win now sees both teams on a 6-2 record. Fenerbahce actually have the tie-breaker advantage thanks to this win and CSKA know that they’ll need to work harder to get back on track in this campaign.
Andrew Goudelock offered up 14 points for the winners, as did Jan Vesely while Bogdan Bogdanovic provided 13 points. You know that you can’t keep Nemanja Bjelica out of the running and he provided 11 points and 13 points as the Turkish side celebrated their 7th win in a row on the road.
The top man for CSKA was Nando De Colo, offering 18 points; Milos Teodosic provided 14 points, although his copy book was blotted by a disqualification in the last minute. Sonny Weems served up 13 points while Aaron Jackson offered 10 points.