Broekhoff and Lokomotiv stay unbeaten
With another big outing from Ryan Broekhoff, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar stayed unbeaten in the EuroCup while Ben Madgen remained hot for Lietuvos Rytas. Jonah Bolden also did a bit of everything as Maccabi Tel Aviv upset the reigning EuroLeague champions as we wrap up the Aussie performances from Europe's top intercontinental leagues.
Battling in a logjam for second place in Group C, Lietuvos Rytas earned an important 94-73 home win against ALBA Berlin in round 9 of the EuroCup. In defending their home court with a 21 point victory, Rytas secured the head-to-head advantage over their German opponents, paving the way for the Lithuanian's to secure second place in the group against Limoges next week.
Rytas were playing strongly early, easing out to a 5 point lead at the first break. Berlin were not about to go away, and fought back in the second. However Ben Madgen stepped up with 10 points in the period, including 2 three-pointers, to help increase the lead the 9 at the main break. Rytas continued to roll in the third period, and would cruise the rest of the way for their big win [video highlights]
Madgen was outstanding, pouring in 19 points on a sizzling 8-11 shooting, including 2-4 from beyond the arc, with 4 steals. After missing a couple of months due to injury, Madgen has quickly found his feet and is now playing a key role in Rytas' EuroCup campaign, having already qualified for the Top 16.
Playing just as well is Ryan Broekhoff, with the sharpshooting wing once again, delivering a big performance to help ensure Lokomotiv Kuban remained unbeaten courtesy of a 69-91 road win against Spanish side Bilbao Basket. The Rio Olympian was on target, draining 4-8 from long-range to register 17 points (6-0 FG) alongside rebounds, and was one of four Lokomotiv players to log double figures in scoring.
For three-quarters, Lokomotiv was unable to shake off Bilbao, and it was Broekhoff who was almost playing a lone hand to keep his side in the contest up until the final break. However a devastating 27-12 last period onslaught saw them take control of the contest and earn their ninth win of the season [video highlights]. Along with German outfit Bayern Munich in Group B, they are the only two remaining unbeaten sides in the EuroCup this season.
Round 14 of the EuroLeague saw Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv send a statement to the rest of the competition, downing reigning champion Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 82-73 at home. A 15-2 opening run that included a Jonah Bolden three-point play, had the hosts in control of the contest right from the tip-off. Yet the visitors battled their way back into the game, closing the margin to just 4 points at half time.
A Bolden floater in the third period kick-started an 8-0 scoring burst by Tel Aviv as they managed to hold onto their lead. The hosts were just far too good on the night, winning the final period 22-19 to hold on for a convincing 9 point victory. Tel Aviv owned the paint at both ends, winning the rebound count 42-33 and shooting 53.1% from inside the arc compared to Fenerbahce's 40% [video highlights].
Jonah Bolden played his part in Tel Aviv's success, contributing 7 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, having a hand in everything throughout the game. Now boasting at 8-6 record, Tel Aviv are now within reach of the Top 4 and take on Unicaja Malaga next round for a chance to advance further up the standings.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul were on the wrong side of another narrow loss, this time a respectable 58-61 result against second placed Olympiacos Piraeus. Efes were unable to overcome a 9-17 first quarter despite a gallant final term charge [video highlights].
Australian Boomer Brock Motum appears to be out of favour with Efes' new head coach. The 6'10 forward was relegated once again to coming off the bench to play just 10 minutes in which he went scoreless on 0-3 shooting with 2 rebounds. It has been a difficult season for Efes, having managed just 3 wins, but a host of narrow losses against quality opposition.