EuroView: Andersen and Goulding light up Eurocup again
Round 4 matches of the Euroleague and Eurocup have been completed while the Eurochallenge has finished it's opening round with the Australians in the Eurocup continuing to make headlines for all the right reasons.
David Andersen is again living up to his highly credentialed European past by this week posting a season-high 25 points to go along with 6 rebounds to be the standout player for his team Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne. Shooting an impressive 10-15 from the field that included three 3-pointers, unfortunately Andersen's impressive display was in vein as his team went down in a close one to Telenet Oostend 99-97. Asvel now sit mid-table with a 2-2 record.
Photo credit Scott Belzner - Sb4photos.com
Coming off the back of Australia's World Cup campaign, Andersen is enjoying a European resurgence of sorts after only playing the latter stages of the Eurocup and French Pro A seasons last season with Strasbourg. Andersen is currently averaging an impressive 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Another stand-out performer not only again this week but so far all Eurocup season is CAI Zaragoza Guard Chris Goulding. Coming off the bench against Italian side Reggio Emilia, Goulding made his mark immediately and put his stamp on the first half as he connected on his first three 3-point attempts to pace the Spanish outfit to an incredible 32-6 lead early in the 2nd quarter.
Reggio Emilia nearly pulled off the incredible by bridging that gap midway through the final quarter but CAI Zaragoza managed to ease their nerves to pull out a 93-79 victory. The clamps were put on Goulding after his impressive start as the former Melbourne playmaker went for 15 points in 20 minutes of action. The win moves CAI Zaragoza to 2-2 and was significant as the group standings are shaping up to be the tightest of the Eurocup with the 4-0 Strasbourg continuing to set the bar high. Goulding and company travel to Germany this week to take on Brose Baskets Bamberg who also sit at 2-2.
Ryan Broekhoff continues his fine work in Turkey and is not only showing his long-range shot to be an asset but also now is his consistency by again posting in double figure points this week. Broekhoff scored all his points from downtown without a miss as he netted four from deep to notch 12 points as his side Besiktas Istanbul were largely unchallenged after the first change and ran out 88-71 winners against VEF Riga.
The win keeps Besiktas only marginally behind group leaders BC Khimki on points differential as both teams sit at a 3-1 record along with Union Olimpija Ljubljana. Besiktas are away this week as they travel to Hungary to go up against Szolnoki Olaj.
Meanwhile in Poland, Daniel Johnson is finding his debut season in Europe an indifferent one as his side Stelmet Zielona Gora still search for their maiden Eurocup victory this season. Down by 23 points at half-time, the Poles could not bridge the gap ultimately going down 83-67. Johnson, who continues to start at Centre, was one of just three Stelmet players to reach double-figures as he notched 12 points. With two other teams at 1-3 in their group, Stelmet Zielona Gora can quickly gain ground as they approach the middle rounds of the Eurocup coming up against Ventspils from Latvia this week.
On the other side of the spectrum is Herbalife Gran Canaria who are going from strength to strength as they move to a blemish-free 4-0 record. One reason for Gran Canaria's impressive play this season has been its role players with Brad Newley successfully assuming his on a week to week basis. A defensive stopper last week, this week Newley was his team's second leading scoring as he contributed 12 points. Gran Canaria enjoyed a strong second half to come from behind and defeat Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck 74-63.
Newley will be eagerly looking forward to this week's match-up against fellow Boomer David Andersen's Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne. Herbalife Gran Canaria will travel to Lyon in a game that should be the highlight of this week's Eurocup and can be seen live in Australia on Eurosport (check local guides).
Australian big men Aleks Maric and Nathan Jawai have again had a lean time of it in this week's Euroleague.
Maric's Maccabi Tel Aviv surprisingly went down at home against Cedevita Zagreb 83-73 with Maric only taking the floor for less than two minutes.
While it was a similar story for Nathan Jawai in regards to court time, his team Galatasaray enjoyed a big win at home against Lithuanian's Neptunas Klaipeda 94-68. Sitting 2nd in their group, Galatasaray will be tested this week as they travel to Greece to tackle undefeated group leaders Olympiacos.
Maccabi too will be tested this week as they travel to Spain to take on Unicaja Malaga who have dropped to 3-1 after losing out to CSKA Moscow in a battle of the last two undefeated teams in the group stages of this season's Euroleague.
Other notable matches this week involve perennial European powerhouses FC Barcelona and Panathinaikos going at it on the former's home floor while the undefeated Real Madrid will try to steal a win at Anadolu Efes Istanbul who are nipping at their heels in Group A with a 3-1 record.
Euroleague Top 10 Plays of the Week: Round 4
Europe's third-tier competition the EuroChallenge started this week with Australia represented by way of Daniel Dillon who continues this season with Romanian side CSM Oradea.
Ironically CSM Oradea opened their EuroChallenge season on the road in Kazakstan against BC Astana who former Sydney Kings Guard Anatoly Kolesnikov (formerly Bose) plays with. Unfortunately the two could not go up against each other though as Dillon recovers from an ankle injury.
BC Astana started their season on a positive note as they took this one 80-64 with Kolesnikov contributing 10 points for the home side.