Australian big man Mangok Mathiang was at his bullish best in the Italian Serie A, while a trio of South East Melbourne Phoenix recruits registered some big performances across Europe.
In the biggest performance by an Australian this week, former Charlotte Hornets big man Mangok Mathiang delivered a big double-double to power Vanoli Cremona to a commanding 97-64 win against Pesaro in the Italian Serie A. Mathiang tied his season-high in scoring with 20 points on 6-10 shooting from the field and 8-12 from the charity stripe. He also added an impressive 14 rebounds (6 offensive) and 2 blocked shots to dominant the interior as his side scored a remarkable 50 points in the paint. It was his tenth double-double of the season, and it helped ensure his team remained in outright third place in the standings.
Xavier Cooks and s.Oliver Würzburg continued their winning ways courtesy of a regulation 80-71 win against lowly Eisbären Bremerhaven in the German Bundesliga. Dominant second and third periods from Würzburg set up the victory, with all nine players who hit the court scoring, including five registering double figures. One of those was Cooks who added 10 points and 3 rebounds in 27 minutes, consolidating their position in the playoffs by moving up into seventh position ahead of their FIBA Europe Cup semi-final game one clash against Italian side Varese this week.
Ben Madgen’s Crailsheim experienced a crushing defeat at the hands of fourth placed ALBA Berlin, going down 69-105. South East Melbourne Phoenix bound Madgen contributed 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals, but his Merlins just did not have the fire power to stick with their more higly rated opponents who blitzed them 84-44 after trailing by 4 at quarter time. Despite the loss, Crailsheim remains 2 places clear of the relegation zone but they face a tough game against fifth ranked Brose Baskets Bamburg this week.
Partizan Belgrade’s ABA Liga run came to an end in the deciding game 3 semi-final clash with Crvena Zvezda. A dominant first half from Crvena Zvezda saw them open up a 44-18 lead at half time and from there they were never seriously challenged in the lop-sided 84-73 result.
Partizan were never allowed to get going, with star centre Jock Landale also beseiged by early foul trouble that limited him to just 12 minutes and his first and only scoreless game of the season. Partizan shot a lowly 32.2% from the field and just 20% from beyond the arc compared to their opponent’s 52.5% shooting and 45.8% accuracy from downtown.
Still in Serbia, Mirko Djeric added a valuable 14 points that included 4-8 three-pointers in Dynamic’s 71-83 loss to Novi Pazar. It was an important game for two of the top 3 sides this season, with Dynamic’s loss allowing their opponent to draw level in equal second place, but edge ahead into second position. Djeric has been providing a scoring spark off the bench all season, adding 6.6 points per game.
In the French LNB, Strasbourg played two games this week for two straight big wins. Against Dijon, Strasbourg gave up a staggering 18 turnovers compared to just 2, but still managed to power away to a 91-68 win. New Brisbane Bullets signing Nathan Sobey came off the bench to play 10 minutes for 4 points and 2 assists. He would play an increased 23 minutes in a 107-74 thrashing of Fos-sur-Mer who were outclassed by a superior opponent. Sobey added 7 points on 3-5 shooting with 5 assists in 23 minutes, as David Andersen sat out his second straight game with a should injury, and he will be re-assessed this week as Strasbourg drew level in the standings with Dijon in sixth place.
South East Melbourne Phoenix recruit Chima Moneke delivered a big performance for Denain in the French Pro B. The forward amassed a game-high 20 points on 8-13 shooting with 8 rebounds in another energetic outing as he helped Denain move past Orléans 78-70. Unlike Moneke, Daniel Dillon was quiet offensively in Paris’ 80-94 loss to Vichy-Clermont, adding just 2 points in 23 minutes.
Legia Warszawa moved into sixth position in the Polish league courtesy of a narrow 88-85 win against last placed Miasto Szkła Krosno. After carrying a 12 point lead into the final term, Warszawa were able to withstand a furious final quarter challenge to hold on for the 3 point win. Keanu Pinder came up big for Warszawa, shooting 5-9 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line for season-high’s of 16 points and 12 rebounds. It was a timely performance by the 24-year-old forward who did his damage in just 21 minutes off the bench.
Zlatorog Laško registered a solid 86-73 win against Ilirija in the Slovenian national league. While Matur Maker went without a field goal (0-8 FG), he went to the free throw line to hit 9-12 to log 9 points and 12 rebounds to go close to what would have been an eight double-double of the season since joining the side in January.
Josh Wilcher continued his standout season in the British Basketball League by helping lead Plymouth to a blowout 85-46 win against Sheffield. Wilcher drained 7 three-pointers on his way to 21 points with 3 rebounds and 3 assists as the Raiders had three players score 20 points or more to easily dispatch the sixth ranked team.
Obi Kyei added just 2 points and 5 rebounds off the bench as Forca Lleida accounted for Araberri 68-52 in the Spanish second division. His side dominated across the first three quarters, cruising to victory against the bottom ranked side while improviong to a 50% record on the season.
Caceres earned a big 76-70 win against Palencia also in the LEB Oro, with another South East Melbourne Phoenix signing leading the way. Dan Trist poured in a team-high 18 points (6-10 FG) with 7 rebounds in a stellar individual performance. It was an important win against a top six ranked team, keeping them just ahead of the relegation zone.
Brock Motum was ruled out of Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s wins in both the EuroLeague and Turkish Super League due to an indisclosed injury apparently sustained a week earlier in his most recent Turkish league game. No further details are currently available.