On the first round in the second half of the 7DAYS EuroCup regular season, four teams crashed into the Top 16! But while Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas, Lietkabelis Panevezys, UCAM Murcia and Valencia Basket are celebrating, there is much to play for as all four last-place teams still have paths to the next stage.
Newcomer Lietkabelis Panevezys claimed a Top 16 berth by outgunning MZT Skopje Aerodrom 80-87 on the road. Lietkabelis boosted its record to 3-2 for a share of second place in Group A. Cedevita Zagreb registered third straight win by topping Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas 97-90 and also raising its record to 3-2. Meanwhile, Gran Canaria suffered its first loss of the season, but still remained in first place in the group with a 4-1 record, and also claimed its place in the Top 16 due to MZT’s loss. Lietkabelis pulled away to a 32-56 lead in the third quarter, but then saw the margin cut to 64-69, before Gintaras Leonavicius and Ksistof Lavrinovic hit triples to stop the bleeding and hold off the hosts. Leonavicius starred with 19 points for Lietkabelis, while Lorenzo Williams had 11 points and 8 assists. Daniel Clark collected 20 points and 9 rebounds for MZT, and Stefan Sinovec also scored 20 points in defeat. Cedevita improved to 3-2 after pulling down 21 offensive rebounds, and Marko Tomas scoring 22 points. Rashad James added 19 points, while Miro Bilan had 16 points plus 9 rebounds for Cedevita. Sasu Salin led Gran Canaria with 15 points.
David Logan beat the buzzer to lift Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to a dramatic 93-91 win over Khimki Moscow Region. In a game in which neither team held a lead bigger than 8 points, but went down to the final possession, Logan banked in a long off-balance jumper for an important victory that improved Rytas’s record to 2-3 record, while Khimki dropped to 3-2, but remained in a share of first place. Big man Drew Gordon dominated for Rytas with 21 points and Logan added 16 points, while Arturas Gudaitis amassed 12 points and 15 rebounds in victory. For Khimki, Alexey Shved led the way with 22 points and 7 assists. Fuenlabrada got back to its winning ways by crushing ALBA Berlin 105-80 behind Ivan Paunic who had 23 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Ludde Hakanson added 19 points in victory. Both Fuenlabrada and ALBA hold 3-2 records.
UCAM Murcia advanced to the Top 16 by topping Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 75-86 in the Montenegrin capital. Murcia improved to 4-1 in Group C, while Buducnost dropped to 0-5. Vitor Faverani led the winners with 21 points on 10-of-10 two-point shots, in the process becoming the second player to make at least 10 two-point shots without a miss in EuroCup history, right behind Robertas Javtokas, who hit all of his 12 two-point attempts when playing for Dynamo Moscow against Slask Wroclaw in 2008. Faverani got help from Vitor Benite, who added 19 points, and Facu Campazzo who collected 14 points, 9 assists and 4 steals for Murcia. Marcus Williams led winless Buducnost with 23 points. Zenit St. Petersburg went on the road to down FC Bayern 88-99 and register it first road win of the season. Zenit swept Bayern in Group C behind five scorers in double digits. Ryan Toolson led the visitors with 20 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Aaron White had 18 points and 8 rebound, Stefan Markovic tallied 14 points and 10 assists, while Janis Timmas had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Nick Johnson paced Bayern with 20 points. Both Zenit and Bayern hold 3-2 records, and both need another win or another Buducnost loss to qualify for the Top 16.
Valencia Basket made it to the EuroCup Top 16 by thrashing ratiopharm Ulm 60-86 on the road on Wednesday. Valencia improved to 4-1 and earned its chance to keep fighting for EuroCup glory, while Ulm dropped to 3-2 and saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. Fernando San Emeterio led the winners with 19 points off the bench. Romain Sato added 14, while Slava Kravtsov had 12 and 9 rebounds for Valencia. Taylor Braun led Ulm with 16 points. Former champ Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar bested winless Union Olimpija Ljubljana 77-64 to improve its record to 2-3 record and fourth place. Lokomotiv outrebounded the visitors 39-19 and led for almost 40 minutes, but did not pull away for good until the fourth when the hosts turned a 7-point lead into a 19-point margin. Mardy Collins stood out with 15 points for the winners, while Andrey Zubkov added 10 points. Mirko Mulalic had 18 points to pace Olimpija, which dropped to 0-5.