Jock Landale came up with another big game, this time in a quarter-final overtime thriller, while Xavier Cooks and Ben Madgen also registered big games as we wrap up the past week in Europe.
In the opening game of the ABA Liga playoffs, traditional rivals Crvena Zvezda and Partizan Belgrade went to battle, in what proved to be a classic contest in front of a sell-out crowd at Aleksandar Nikolić Hall.
While the home side gained the early lead, Partizan wasted no time in pegging Zvezda back in a contest where absolutely nothing separated either side. Jock Landale was making plays at both ends of the court, coming up with some timely blocks in the second half, while finding ways to score inside and at the charity stripe. Partizan trailed by 2 with the final possession, but Alex Renfroe made a lay-up with just seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Landale scored the first basket in overtime as both teams traded baskets. The pivotal moment came with 2:19 to play, with Landale fouling out on a converted three-point play. While Partizan would draw level again with 1:10 to play, they never again hit the lead before falling short 101-106.
Despite falling 1 game behind their rivals, Landale was again prominent, adding 17 points (5-8 FG) which included a perfect 7-7 and with 2 blocks before fouling out in almost 29 minutes. Partizan returns home in the second leg looking to level the best-of-three game series.
After dominating the Turkish Super League for two straight weeks, Brock Motum finally earned some more minutes in Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s latest EuroLeague clash. The 2016 Rio Olympian played 15 minutes in a 91-84 victory against Buducnost Podgorica, chiming in with 8 points on 3-5 shooting with 2 rebounds and 2 assists and a terrific all-round performance
In their return to Turkey, Motum was rested as Efes narrowly escaped with a 66-65 win against Gaziantep to hold onto top spot in the standings.
The Crailsheim Merlins collected a much-needed win in the race to stave of relegation in the German Bundesliga in their final game before the All-Star break. Crailsheim made 7 free throws in the final 17 seconds to hold off a fast finishing Eisbären Bremerhaven 86-80 in a thrilling finish. Ben Madgen was the star, draining all 4 of his free throws in the dying seconds to finish with a game-high 19 points with 4 rebounds and 4 steals to ensure his side consigned their opponent to the bottom of table while pulling 2 games clear themselves.
In the first game after the All-Star break, s.Oliver Würzburg was unable to keep their momentum going in a 70-81 result against Bayern Munich. Munich pulled out to a 10 point lead early, and while Würzburg matched it with their opponents the rest of the way, were never able to pull it back to challenge for the win. Xavier Cooks was again impressive in compiling 15 points (7-10 FG), 5 rebounds and 5 assists, but it was not enough to prevent his team from sliding out of the playoff equation for now.
Earlier, Würzburg let slip a big lead late to go down to Bakken 75-76 in the first leg of their FIBA Europe Cup Quarter-Finals. Cooks provided 12 points but fouled out in 21 minutes, with the loss snapping Würzburg’s 9-game winning streak. They will now return home for the decider and must win by more than 1 point to advance to the Semi-Finals.
Vanoli Cremona bounced back from last week’s loss in the best possible fashion by taking down Italian Serie A ladder leaders Milan 76-72 in a tight contest befitting that of a playoff game. Milan led by 8 at the first break, but Cremona worked their way back into the game in the second period. It was not until the final quarter that they wrestled control, with Mangok Mathiang pulling down 5 of his game-high 13 rebounds as they finished over the top of Milan. Mathiang would also add 12 points and 3 blocks in another workmanlike performance as Cremona maintained their grip on third in the standings.
In France, Nathan Sobey came off the bench to add 11 points and 3 assists, and David Andersen did the same for 8 points and 6 rebounds, as Strasbourg dominated Antibes to win 75-55. Holding a slender 3 point lead at the first break, Strasbourg utilised its deep bench to overwhelm their French LNB opponent
South East Melbourne recruit Chima Moneke exploded for a game-high 24 points (9-11 FG) with 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks but it was not enough to get Denain over the line against Quimper in the French second division. A big second quarter effort from Denain put them in front, however when it mattered most, Denain hit the front with 6 seconds left to take the win 90-88.
Also in the French Pro B, Daniel Dillon’s Paris was outdone by Poitiers 69-83. Dillon gathered 9 points and 4 rebounds, but his team shot just 38% from the floor and well beaten on the boards.
Despite another double-double from Matur Maker, Zlatorog Laško fell 69-74 to Šenčur in Slovenia. Šenčur’s 21-15 third period ultimately proved Zlatorog’s undoing. Maker compiled a solid 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks, yet Zlatorog are now in 7th place and with work to do in order to secure a playoff spot.
In Poland, Keanu Pinder was one of six Legia Warszawa players to score in double figures as they registered a commanding 94-72 win against Radom. Pinder came off the bench to connect on 7-9 shots from the field on his way to season-highs for points (15), rebounds (8) and steals (3) in almost 2 minutes on court. Warszawa are in outright 7th place, and making a big push towards the playoffs.