Motum, Broekhoff and Madgen impress
Round one of the EuroLeague came tipped-off, with Zalgiris Kaunas dropping a tough encounter with Panathinaikos Athens, while in the EuroCup, Ben Madgen and Ryan Broekhoff both came away victorious with their respected clubs.
Brock Motum and Zalgiris Kaunas played Panathinaikos Athens in what was a back and forth affair through much of the first half’s action. However the Greek opposition took the slight edge heading into halftime up 37-30. Zalgiris came out in the third quarter playing with more energy, allowing them to go into the fourth quarter up 52-51. Yet in the final frame of action they started to let up, and Panathinaikos took advantage of it. They outscored Zalgiris in the quarter (33-24) and ran away with a 84-76 victory.
Motum was Zalgiris' top player on the night, scoring 19 points and hauling in 5 rebounds in only 21 minutes of action. Motum's play was a key factor in keeping the game close; he was on fire offensively in shooting 6/10 from the field.
Panathinaikos had no answer to stopping Motum inside as he scored at every opportunity he got. But he also showed off his shooting touch for a big-man, nailing one shot from behind the arc.
In Round one of EuroCup, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar took on Union Olimpija. To kick off the first half of action both teams took their time as they looked to scout each other. Lokomotiv got the better of their adversary with a strong showing in the second quarter, allowing them to go into the main break up 31-24. In the second half, Union Olimpija continued fighting, but the defense Lokomotiv played was too stout, holding them to 35.6% shooting from the field to earn a 72-64 win.
Broekhoff was his usual pesky self on the defensive end of the floor, hounding opponents and getting his hands on a lot of tip passes and steals (2). His offensive performance stood out, scoring 10 points (4/8 FG) and draining two shots from three-point territory. The Melburnian also displayed his underrated play-making ability, dishing out 4 assists on the night, finding the open team-mate time and time again.
Ben Madgen played his first game in the EuroCup and he showed that he belongs in playing against Europe’s best, scoring 10 points and draining two shots from behind the arc in only 15 minutes of play. Although his offensive numbers were helpful, it was his defense that stood out. Everyone knows that Madgen can score, but he was going out to show that he could defend, playing with a nice tenacity on that end of the floor. However, that aggressiveness ended up getting him into foul trouble (4 fouls), forcing him to only see a limited amount of action on the night.
Despite that, Lietkabelis Panevezys came away with the win over MZT Skopje Aerodrom 90-89. Lietkabelis dominated through three-quarters of action (74-58) but they started to let up in the final frame of play, allowing their opponents to outscore them 31-16. Yet despite that, Lietkabelis survived in the end, thanks to a tip in score to end the game at the final buzzer.