In a thrilling conclusion to the ABA Liga regular season in Serbia, Jock Landale and Duop Reath stole the show in an all-Australian showdown, while Brock Motum continued to light up the scoreboard in Turkey as we wrap up the Australian men’s performances in European leagues from the past week.
In the final game of the ABA Liga season, Jock Landale’s Partizan Belgrade and Duop Reath’s FMP Belgrade went head-to-head and both players delivered very good performances. Little separated either side early, but a mini-run in the second term saw home side FMP edge ahead 6 points at half time. Despite Partizan’s efforts to try and run over the top of their cross-town rivals, FMP held firm to record a thrilling 73-72 win.
Duop Reath’s emergence was evident, with the first year forward providing a game-high 16 points on an efficient 7-11 shooting with 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks in almost 21 minutes. In fact Reath came up big down the stretch, scoring FMP’s last 6 points in the last 2:20, including the go-ahead bucket with 49 seconds left to win the game.
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Jock Landale was his usual consistent self in compiling a team-high 14 points (5-8 FG) with just 1 rebound and 3 assists in 25 minutes, including a massive poster dunk. However it was Reath’s night, with the big man ensuring his team finished the season on a winning note. Partizan however finished in fourth place, advancing to the playoffs to take on rivals Crvena Zvezda in the semi-finals tipping off this week.
Entering game two of the FIBA Europe Cup Top 16 against Avtodor Saratov with a three point lead, s.Oliver Würzburg came away with a 94-90 win in game two on their home court to secure the series win and advance to the quarter-finals. Würzburg trailed by 11 points at the first break, but they slowly worked their way back in the game to set up a thrilling finish. Xavier Cooks contributed 13 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists, throwing down a big dunk late to seal the result. Würzburg will now take on Bakken in the quarter-final showdown commencing this week.
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Back in the German Bundesliga, Würzburg made light work of Fraport, with six players scoring in double figures en route to a 91-77 win. Cooks was one of those players, compiling 12 points (5-7 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in a foul restricted 20 minutes. His team hang onto eight place in the standings, equal on points with ninth ranked Medi Bayreuth.
Crailsheim lost to Ratiopharm Ulm 87-99 in a topsy-turvy contest. Ulm jumped the Merlins in the first term to open up an imposing 18 point lead, only to see they whittled away to just 5 points at the main break. Ulm then wrestled back control of the game to finish the stronger team, despite Ben Madgen adding 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in a mature performance.
Just like a week earlier, Brock Motum was used sparingly in Anadolu Efes Istanbul’s narrow 79-71 EuroLeague victory against Maccabi Tel Aviv to consolidate fourth place. In his four minutes on court, Motum delivered just 1 assist and a thunderous poster dunk.
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After missing out on seeing much action, Motum was instead unleashed on the Turkish Basketball League and he again delivered. This week he poured in another game-high of 21 points on 12-18 shooting with 5 rebounds and 2 assists in another masterful offensive display in leading Efes to a convincing 98-81 win over Büyükçekmece. His outstanding performances in the Turkish League leaves you puzzled as to why he does not get more of a look in during the EuroLeague games.
In the Italian Serie A, Mangok Mathiang’s playoff-bound Vanoli Cremona suffering a 64-83 loss to Varese. Mathiang posted 9 points and 7 rebounds as a starter, but fifth placed Varese opened and closed with 23-13 terms to upset third placed Cremona.
Zlatorog Laško returned to the winners list in the Slovenian national league to remain tied with Helios in eight place. Behind a team-high 22 points (7-12 FG), 8 rebounds and 5 steals from Matur Maker, Zlatorog held off Ilirija to prevail 89-86 in a close one. Maker has made a big impact since joining the team in January, and has his team well and truly in the playoff equation.
Also challenging for a playoff position is Legia Warszawa in the Polish national league, sitting in seventh place but equal with sixth after defeating Spójnia Stargard 76-72 thanks to a barnstorming 24-13 final quarter effort. Keanu Pinder came off the bench to contribute 6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 15 minutes. He has firmly entrenched himself in the rotation and may be the x-factor in the run home to the playoffs.
Despite a sprightly 8 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench from Obi Kyei, Forca Lleida fell agonisingly short 64-65 to Real Canoe in the Spanish second division. It was a difficult loss for Lleida, as it severely dented their chances of moving up the standings in a late season run. However Dan Trist and Caceres enjoyed better fortunes, managing to register an 80-75 victory against the higher ranked Palma. Trist gathered 13 points with 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in another solid performance, helping his team move 1 place up into sixteenth position, and a chance to pull away from the relegation zone.
In the French Pro B, Paris were trounced 64-90 by Nancy in a one-side contest. Dan Dillon posted 6 points with 3 rebounds and 5 assists, but his side was outgunned by the third ranked team. Chima Moneke and Denain have not taken to the court again since their loss to Rouen.