Boomers Broekhoff and Newley in fine form
Ryan Broekhoff continued to impress in Euroleague as he led Lokomotiv Kuban to yet another victory. In the Eurocup, Brad Newley also enjoyed a big game as Gran Canaria cruised to a big win.
In round 4 of the Euroleague Top 16, Lokomotiv Kuban took on Panathinaikos Athens in what proved to be a close contest. Both teams traded baskets throughout the first half as they looked to find a way to separate themselves from each other. However Panathinaikos managed to gain a slight edge, going into halftime leading 39-38.
In the second half both teams continued trading punches, however it was Lokomotiv who took the initiative to take back the lead, opening up a 6 point margin late in the game (73-67). Dontaye Draper stepped up in the closing moments, connecting on a clutch three-pointer to deliver a final 76-67 score line and victory for Lokomotiv.
Ryan Broekhoff was a key contributor in the win, adding 8 points, 3 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. He led the team in plus/minus as Lokomotiv outscored their opponents by 19 points in his 29 minutes of playing time. His defense was one of the main reasons for that, as he hounded Panathinaikos perimeter players all game. Lokomotiv are now 4-1 and in outright second place, trailing undefeated Group E leaders Fenerbahce Istanbul.
Zalgiris Kaunas faced Greek side Olympiacos Piraeus, with the Lithuanian side coming away with their first victory in the Top 16. Olympiacos looked to come out and set the tone, opening up an early 18-17 lead. Yet Zalgiris would fight back, outscoring Olympiacos 16-9 in the second period and going into half time ahead, 33-27.
Olympiacos looked to regain their lead to open the second half, however Zalgiris did a good job preventing the opposition from getting easy buckets, turning their defense into offense as they outscored their opponents 42-28 in the second half. Zalgiris rode their second half dominance in cruising to a commanding 75-55 victory.
Brock Motum had a solid game, scoring 9 points (2/3FG) despite playing only 12 minutes. He did a good job creating contact, as he got to the free-throw line 5 times in the game. Unfortunately Zalgiris remain in last place in Group F with a 1-3 record and with plenty of work still do to.
Herbalife Gran Canaria took on Avtodor Saratov in round 4 of the Eurocup Last 32. The Spaniards would get the upper hand in the first half, going into halftime ahead 50-44. After the main break, Gran Canaria looked to further their lead as they continued attacking the paint, either scoring inside or finding the open shooter. Avtodor Saratov had no answer to stopping the dribble penetration, allowing Gran Canaria to earn a convincing 101-77 victory.
After a great performance against FC Barcelona in the Spanish ACB, Brad Newley maintained his scoring output with 17 points on an efficient 8/10 shooting. Even though he was on fire offensively, he continued playing both ends of the floor. His pesky defense prevented the opposition from getting off open three-point looks all game as Gran Canaria improved to 2-1 and just 1 game behind Group H leaders Strasbourg.
CAI Zaragoza played Banco di Sardegna Sassari, with both teams looking toe gain the early edge. It was Zaragoza would get the best of their Italian foe, taking a 23-20 lead after the first term, and then extending it further as the entered the main break 50-36 ahead.
In the second half, Sassari mounted a challenge, however their soft perimeter defense was their undoing, allowing Zaragoza to shoot 44% on three-point attempts for the game. Zaragoza's defense was also very good, and helped then collected an important 87-75 win.
New Zealander Isaac Fotu played well, scoring 12 points (5/7 FG) and grabbing 5 rebounds with 3 assists in 19 minutes of playing time. He even had a couple of nice dimes to Slava Kravtsov, as he showed off his passing skills from the high-post. with the win, Zaragoza are now locked with Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul with a 2-1 slate and tied for first place in Group N.
ASVEL Basket looked to stay atop the Group O FIBA Europe Cup standings with a win over Kataja Basket. Right from the start, ASVEL came out looking to make a statement. They opened up an early 11-2 lead, and although Kataja Basket fought back to eventually make a close game of it, ASVEL led 35-29 at half time.
After the main break, the game continued to stay tight despite Kataja having trouble getting stops at crucial parts in the game. ASVEL took advantage, making 47% of their field goal attempts on the night which in turn enabled them to prevail 72-64.
David Andersen, as he has been all season, was a model of consistency, scoring 12 points (5/10 FG) and pulling down 9 rebounds with 4 assists in 22 minutes of playing time. He has been integral in helping ASVEL to the top of their group, averaging 15.4 points and 6.9 rebounds in the competition.
Aussies in Europe: 2015/16 Men and Women