Broekhoff's defense helps top Barcelona in Euroleague
|Dec 20, 2015|
The first stage of Euroleague and Eurocup came to a close this week, with a number of Aussies and a Kiwi progressing to the next stage.
In a game between the two top teams in Group C, Lokomotiv Kuban faced FC Barcelona at home and with a chance to secure first place outright.
Starting the game off, Lokomotiv would come out taking the lead 18-17. Yet Barcelona would come back with a strong second quarter, and go into the main break up, 35-29. In the second half, both teams would stay neck and neck, exchanging leads. Lokomotiv would have the advantage 76-73 with the game entering the closing seconds. Barcelona's last chance to tie the game would miss, enabling Lokomotiv to win 78-74.
Ryan Broekhoff played well, scoring 8 points, grabbing 3 rebounds and making a pair of three-pointers in 29 minutes of playing time. As has been the case all season, Broekhoff played outstanding defense. The Aussie was all over the place on the less-glamorous end of the court, clamping down on his man, and closing out on shooters.
BC Zalgiris Kaunas took on Panathinaikos, with the Greek club gaining the early ascendancy to open up an 11-6 lead. Although Zalgiris would reclaim the lead, managing to enter the main break 36-34. In the third quarter, the game would continue to stay close, with both teams fighting to get an edge. in the dying moments of the game and with Panathinaikos leading 72-71, Zalgiris would have a chance to tie the game. Unfortunately Brock Motum would miss the game-tying three, and Zalgiris would lose 75-72.
By his standards, Motum had a quiet game, scoring 2 points and grabbing 1 rebound in just 9 minutes of playing time. He was substituted into the game with a couple of seconds left in the fourth quarter, which was a confusing move given that Zalgiris coach Saulius Štombergas didn’t play him most of the game, and also expecting him to take and make the big shot. Despite the loss, Zalgiris qualified for the Top 16 after finishing in fourth place in Group C.
Herbalife Gran Canaria encountered Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in what was a competitive game between two of the strongest teams in Group B.
Both teams traded blows throughout the first half, yet it was Reggio Emilia who managed to edge ahead 35-30 by half time. Gran Canaria would strike back, taking the lead 49-48 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. From that point on, Gran Canaria would not look back, eventually winning the game 78-73.
Brad Newley played with the energy we are accustomed to seeing. He was very good defensively, playing good perimeter defense which was a key reason why Reggio Emilia connected in only 15% on three-point attempts. He would finish the game scoring 8 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in 25 minutes of playing time. With the victory, Gran Canaria secured first place in Group B, advancing to the last 32.
New Zealander Isaac Fotu had a quiet game in CAI Zaragoza’s 82-72 victory over Umana Reyer Venice. Zaragoza would managed to edge ahead going into halftime, opening up a narrow 1 point lead in a very tight first half. Zaragoza opened the second half like a different team, clamping down on defense and holding their opponents to only 11 points for the period. Yet Umana Reyer would fight back, outscoring Zaragoza 26-25 in the fourth quarter. Thanks to their third term, Zaragoza would hold on to win by 10 points.
Isaac Fotu wouldn’t play much, seeing only 8 minutes of action. However Fotu would make the best of his limited playing time, scoring 7 points and grabbing 2 rebounds. Zaragoza qualifies for the next round after finishing in second place in Group C.
Aleks Maric's defense and rebounding helped Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on their way to a blowout 89-56 victory over CSA Steaua. Buducnost took control right from the start, opening up a commanding 22-8 lead by the end of the first quarter. It would be a lead they would extend even further to 45-26 at the main break. In the second half, Buducnost would continue their excellent play as they cruised to victory. Their suffocating defense would be key in the win, allowing CSA Steaua to shoot only 31% on field-goal attempts.
Maric would play like his usual self, scoring 5 points with 10 rebounds and 2 steals. His rim protection helped prevent CSA Steaua from getting easy looks at the basket as they won easily. Despite the win, Buducnost failed to qualify for the next round after finding themselves in fifth position in Group D.