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Aussies with rare quiet games; Motum the highest paid foreigner in Lithuania
Most of the Australians in action across Eurocup and Euroleague action were relatively quiet this week and experienced mixed results.
Thanks to an impressive 72-53 win over Turkish side Pinar Karsiyaka Ismir, Ryan Broekhoff and Lokomotiv Kuban remain undefeated in Euroleague to open the season.
However it was the visitors who managed to get the early upper hand. Karsiyaka was the better team across the first two periods, opening up a 35-30 lead at half time. the contest then became a defense battle, and this is where the home side were able to take control. Lokomotiv forced Karsiyaka to shoot just 37.1% from the field in a game where both teams failed to connect from long-range. The major difference was that Lokomotiv scored inside at an efficient clip (68.8%%).
Broekhoff was uncharacteristically quiet offensively, going scoreless and missing all three of his three-point attempts. However his defensive impact should not be underestimated. He would finish with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in playing 25 minutes as a starter. The 4-0 Lokomotiv next take on FC Barcelona on the road, with a chance to solidify first place in Group C.
Facing the vaunted FC Barcelona at home, Zalgiris Kaunas started off strongly to open up an early lead. However Barcelona fought back bravely, making big shots down the stretch to earn a 78-85 victory.
Barcelona were at their best in the middle half of the game, outscoring the home side 45-34 across the second and third periods combined. While Zalgiris finished strongly, their inability to convert their three-point attempts (3/15 3PT) contributed to their downfall. Brock Motum had little influence on this game, playing just 8 minutes for 1 rebound and 1 assist - with the dime deemed the assist of the night by the league. Zalgiris next heads to Greece to take on Panathinaikos Athens who will be desperate for a win to remain in contention, just like their visiting opponents.
Also emerging in the past week is the salaries of all players in the Lithuanian national league. Motum was named the highest paid foreign player, earning 240,000 euros per season - the seventh best pay-day in the competition.
Needing a win to remain in contention in a tough Group D, Buducnost VOLI Podgorica managed to earn a tough home win over Russian outfit Unics Kazan 73-63.
The home side managed to gain the ascendancy at the start of the second term, managing go on an 11-0 run across the first 5 minutes to open up an 8 point lead. Aleks Maric combined with Nemanja Jamaraz for 9 points in that pivotal run, finishing with 10 points on a perfect 5/5 shooting from the field. He would also pull down 4 rebounds with 1 steal in the big win. Buducnost improve to 2-2 and are now just 1 win away from second place in the group.
After a 3-0 start to the Eurocup season, Herbalife Gran Canaria looked set to continue their run, this time on the road against Alba Berlin. The visitors were on fire early, silencing the crowd in the process, as they opened up a 28-17 quarter time advantage. Gran Canaria held firm in the second period, extending their solid lead to 12 at the main break. However the home side would then fight back.
Alba stormed into the lead with a commanding 25-7 period and put themselves into the driver's seat. Gran Canaria never recovered, as they were overrun by a rampant home side who prevailed 71-84. After sitting out his side's Spanish ACB game due to injury, Brad Newley was back in action, providing 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steal in 23 minutes. With the loss, Gran Canaria are now 3-1 and tied in first place in Group B.