With most leagues in Europe gearing up for the playoffs a few Aussies put in big performances to close out the regular season.
Dan Trist came to play in Oviedo’s final regular season game, scoring 21 points with 6 rebounds in the 77-82 victory over Castello in the Spanish second division. Trist was the focal point of the Oviedo offense and shot an impressive 10/12 from the field, making Castello pay with every opportunity. Trist’s efficiency was invaluable as the tight contest came down to the final minutes, with both teams exchanging the lead throughout the four quarters. Oviedo were equally as hot in the paint as Trist, shooting 67% from the field and the team putting on an offensive showcase at times with 23 assists. Trist saved one of his best games for the end of the regular season and looks to be in great form heading into the playoffs. Oviedo secured the 4th seed and a Quarter-final against seventh seed Penas Huesca.
The final game of the season was very disappointing for LEB Oro (Spain) league-leading Palencia, going down 89-77 to second-ranked Melilla. Melilla came out in good form to start the game and held Palencia comfortably at bay until the final quarter when Palencia made a push with a 17-22 quarter, still falling short. Mitch McCarron performed well in a big game, with 11 points (4/10 FG), 6 rebounds (4 offensive) and 3 assists in 26 minutes. McCarron played his role well, though Palencia as a collective failed to make and take opportunities, shooting just 38% inside the arc. However Palencia still finished one game ahead and top of the league with a 23-7 record. Due to the schedule and set up of the competition, Palencia were duly crowned 2015/16 LEB Gold Champions!
It was a must-win game for ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne when they faced league-leading Monaco at home. However the visitors showed why they lead the French Pro A League, with an impressive first quarter opening up a 6-point lead. The game was back and forth until the third quarter when Monaco regained the momentum and just managed to hold ASVEL out of seriously contending for the win. David Andersen tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds in the disappointing 67-74 loss. ASVEL will have plenty to build on from this contest, as they shot just 7/23 from behind the arc, recorded 17 turnovers and were only just edged out by the league-leaders. The loss leaves ASVEL in 7th position on the league table, with a very tight contest between the top 9 teams.
Brock Motum came off the bench for Zalgiris Kaunas to deliver 8 points (4/5 FG) with 4 rebounds in 13 minutes as they accounted for Lietuvos Rytas 79-74 in Lithuania. Zalgiris dominated the paint, scoring 50 of their points inside in comparison to just 22 by their opponents. Motum played an important role in that success, ensuring his side maintained their position at the top of the table with an imposing 31-3 record.
Veteran center Aleks Maric is impressing for his new Spanish ACB side Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro. In starting against Estudiantes, Maric delivered 8 points on an efficient 4/5 shooting with 8 rebounds in 25 minutes. Despite the impressive showing, Obradoiro were unable to steal the road win, going down 70-71 in a thriller despite winning the rebound count 36-26. It was their 6th straight loss and now fall to 17th place.
Daniel Dillon was ice cold for PGE Turow who were comprehensively beaten 83-64 by Stelmet Zielona Gora in Poland. In 29 minutes, Dillon went 3/12 from the field but made up for his shooting woes by filling up the box score in his usual manner. Dillon recorded 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 4 turnovers in what was a good display of what you get with Dillon, some highlight plays and some sloppy decision making. Turow’s shooting troubles were widespread, as they finished just 32% from the field and a woeful 3/19 from three-point range. Though the result was not unexpected considering that Stelmet have lost just 4 games all season and Turow sit in 9th one game below .500.
Cameron Gliddon played 27 minutes for AZS Koszalin also in Poland but failed to really capitalise in the 81-72 loss to Polpharma. It wasn’t for lack of trying though; Gliddon was 2/8 from deep and finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. It wasn’t the best performance for Koszalin and one they will wish they won as it was one of the few winnable games for the 11th ranked side (13-19).
Still in Poland, Ater Majok was quiet in Trefl Sopot’s 78-60 win over Stal Ostrow. Majok played 17 minutes and scored 6 points and 4 rebounds as Trefl Sopot hammered Ostrow 40-24 on the boards. Trefl Sopot’s defense was spotty but held up well on the perimeter and was crucial to the result of the game. It was just Trefl Sopot’s 8th win of the season and they sit in 15th position on the league table.
The best that Verviers-Pepinster can finish the season is in 6th place, and Ben Madgen helped his 10th ranked side topple 11th placed Leuven 92-74 in the Belgium Scooore League. Madgen exploded for a game-high 30 points (3/5 3PT) alongside 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Liege is their next opponent who will sure to provide a sterner test for Madgen and his side.
In Italy, Chris Goulding continued to find it difficult to adjust in Auxilium Torino’s 83-75 victory over fellow cellar-dweller Enel Brindisi. Goulding started and played 19 minutes and landed 2/6 triples to finish with 6 points. With the win, the lowly Torino moved off the bottom of the table and into 14th place, with the same 10-18 record as Virtus Bologna and Juvecaserta.