EuroView: Goulding continues great Eurocup form
Round 3 matches of the Euroleague and Eurocup have been completed as group standings start to take on a greater significance and Australians continue to perform well on the European stage.
Chris Goulding has continued his fine form for Spanish side CAI Zaragoza in the Eurocup by this week scoring a season-high 19 points in just 22 minutes of action which included four 3-pointers.
Although CAI Zaragoza went down 90-88 to German side Telekom Baskets Bonn, Goulding continues to show he has quickly adjusted to playing in Europe after leading the Australian NBL in scoring last year. Goulding has netted the 2nd most 3-pointers in the Eurocup so far and is shooting an impressive 61% from that distance. This week's 19-point effort is Goulding's third consecutive outing scoring in double figures in the competition as he averages 15.7 points per game.
While this week's loss is CAI Zaragoza's 2nd in three matches, they still sit in 3rd place in their group as they look towards next week's match-up against Italians Reggio Emilia, who will have familiar faces to Goulding from the recent World Cup in Lithuanian twins Darjus and Ksistof Lavrinovic.
Another pillar of consistency in the Eurocup this season is Ryan Broekhoff, the starting forward for Turkish outfit Besiktas Istanbul. Like Goulding, Broekhoff scored in double figures for the third straight game as he accumulated 10 points in a big win for Besiktas over Russian powerhouse BC Khimki Moscow 66-64. While not only being consistent on the offensive end, Broekhoff has also showed great form on the boards by pulling down nine rebounds in this week's victory as he averages 7.3 rebounds on the season to go along with 13 points per game.
This week's victory ensures Besiktas maintains an equal best record in their group at 2-1 as they prepare to host Latvian side VEF Riga next week who currently sit at the bottom of the group.
While the emergence of Goulding in Europe and Broekhoff taking his game to the next level may be surprises to some, David Andersen performing at a high level in Europe would not be. Andersen went for 16 points and 6 rebounds this week for Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne as they secured a big win against Italians FoxTown Cantu 78-70. Andersen continues to show the extended break he took at the start of last year's domestic season is paying off as he took to the court for 30 minutes this week. Next week Asvel come up against Telenet Ostend from Belgium with both teams having already met this season as Asvel knocked them out of this year's Euroleague qualifying round in the opening encounter for both teams.
With Asvel sitting nicely in 2nd place in their group with a 2-1 record, it is Brad Newley's Herbalife Gran Canaria who top that group at 3-0 courtesy of this week's 71-69 road victory against JDA Dijon of France. While not starting in the game, Newley still clocked up 25 minutes as he looked to focus on the defensive end while not scoring from the field. Herbalife Gran Canaria will look to continue their unbeaten run in the Eurocup at home next week taking on German side Artland Dragons Quakenbrueck.
As Newley's side looks to remain unbeaten, at the other end of the spectrum is Daniel Johnson and Stelmet Zielona Gora who continue to search for their first Eurocup victory as they fell to Buducnost Voli Podgorica 90-76. While both teams had five players each scoring in double figures, Buducnost's 2nd quarter where they outscored their opponents 30-18 took the game away from the Polish side. Johnson scored 4 points in 12 minutes of action and will look to improve on this next week as Stelmet Zielona Gora travel to Turkey to go up against the 2-1 Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir.
With the Australians in the Eurocup flying the flag high this week, it was a quieter week in the Euroleague. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv looked impressive in their 84-69 win over ALBA Berlin, a team who in this year's pre-season managed to knock off NBA Champions San Antonio. However, Australian Centre Aleks Maric was used sparingly throughout the game as new Maccabi coach Guy Goodes stayed with his starters for most of the match. Maccabi will look towards next week's home encounter with the win-less Cedevita Zagreb with confidence as they try to maintain pace with group leaders CSKA Moscow and Unicaja Malaga.
Meanwhile Turkish team Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul suffered a heart breaking one-point loss on the road against Laboral Kutxa Vitoria. With Laboral hitting the front on a basket with 2.9 seconds remaining, Galatasaray's baseline 3-pointer reply was just off as they went down 91-90. Although Nathan Jawai traveled with the team, he didn't take to the floor.
As expected again this season powerhouse clubs CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Olympiacos all top their groups and remain undefeated. Next week CSKA Moscow take on Unicaja Malaga who are the only other undefeated team in the competition in what promises to be an intense clash in the Russian capital and the highlight of the round.
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