A host of Aussie big men made an impact for their respective teams in Europe across the weekend, with Cameron Bairstow and Jock Landale leading the way in Lithuania.
Cameron Bairstow was one of five Rytas Vilnius players to score in double figures as his team joined Jock Landale’s Žalgiris Kaunas on the top of the Lithuanian league standings with undefeated records after three games.
In 20 minutes off the bench, Bairstow went 5 of 10 from the field for 10 points 7 rebounds as he helped Rytas to hold off a fast finishing Neptunas Klaipeda. Neptunas managed to edge to within 3 points mid-way through the last term, before Rytas held on to register an 85-75 victory. Rytas established a 45-32 first half lead, and from there were able to hold on for an important 10 point win.
Žalgiris were able to make light work of Nevėžis, with Landale again an efficient scoring threat. The 6’11 big man shot 5 of 6 from the field in logging 13 points with 7 rebounds in just 18 minutes. With Žalgiris wrestling control of the game in the second term, everyone on their roster saw 14 minutes or more in a strong 83-57 win.
In their second game of the season, Valencia could not overcome a horrible first half against Bilbao to go down 79-83 in the Spanish ACB. Valencia trailed 35-53 at half time before unleashing a furious second half fight back. However while they would close to within 2 points a number of times in the final term, Bilbao would hold on to take the win by just 4 points. Brock Motum was again in good scoring form, adding 13 points on 4 of 7 shooting with 7 rebounds and 20 minutes.
In the Adriatic League Super Cup, FMP Belgrade took on Olimpija in the quarter finals and came up short 92-101 in an overtime thriller. Versatile big man Duop Reath impressed, with the former LSU star delivering a 13 point and 11 rebound double-double in 32 minutes.
Reath was almost the hero for FMP, pulling down an offensive rebound and then finishing it off with just 32 seconds to play in regulation to put his side up by 2 points, however two made free throws from Olimpija would see the game need extra time. While Reath scored the first bucket in overtime, his side would be unable to hold of Olimpija who would end up progressing to the final before going down to Partizan in the final.
In Turkey, Mangok Mathiang and Bahçeşehir opened their season with a 75-80 loss to Besiktas. Mathiang added 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks in in 25 minutes, but his side could not overcome their third quarter in which they were outscored by 8 points.