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EuroView: There is no stopping Jock Landale and Xavier Cooks
A host of Australian men came up big across Europe in the past week,and there appears to be no stopping Jock Landale and Xavier Cooks who just continue to deliver game in and game out.
Landale continued his dominant season for Partizan in the Adriatic League, helping them to a close 67-57 win against Ogokea. The former Saint Mary's standout compiled 11 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, with a pivotal run in the second term paving the way for the 10 point victory. Landale went 7-10 from the field and a perfect 3-3 from the line aongside 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots, finishing with an impressive efficiency rating of 30.
Also in the ABA Liga, FMP Belgrade's playoff aspirations took a hit courtesy of their 69-79 loss to Mornar Bar. Mornar broke out early to an 10 point lead, and while FMP fought back in the second, Mornar lifted again in the third to effectively shut down FMP's chances. Duop Reath came off the bench to log 33 minutes, adding 6 points (2-6 FG), 7 rebounds and 1 blocked shot in what proved to be a primary defensive role.
Following round 21, Partizan maintained their position in fourth position, while FMP remained 5 games behind in sixth place.
s.Oliver Würzburg started the week off on the right foot by registering an impressive 79-76 road win over Avtodor Saratov in the FIBA Europe Cup Round of 16. In a contest which delivered a staggering 26 lead changes, and neither side leading by more than 5 points, it all came down to the wire, allowing Xavier Cooks to shine once more.
The 6'8 forward came up with a big block to thwart Avtodor's attempt to take the lead with just 9 seconds left in the game. The defensive play sparked a fast break in which Würzburg finished to close out a thrilling 3 point win. Cooks would finish with an equal team-high 15 points with 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots in yet another brilliant performance. After inflicting Avtodor's first home loss of the season, Cook's team now carry a 3 point advantage into the second leg of their home-and-away series for the chance to advance to the quarter-finals.
In their return to the German Bundesliga, Würzburg maintained their momentum by accounting for Mitteldeutscher BC 84-77. Würzburg opened up an 8 point buffer in the third term and managed to hold off a late challenge to secure the win and lift themselves into eighth place, but in a logjam with three other teams. Cooks delivered a game-high 19 points on 8-13 shooting with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in another dominant performance by the first year professional and former Winthrop star.
Crailsheim will rue a missed opportunity against playoff-bound Bonn who cane up with a big play late to steal the win, 88-87. Fighting to stave off relegation, the Merlins led by as many as many as 11 and were in front for more than three-quarters of the contest, only to have the game stolen despite a big game from Ben Madgen. The South East Melbourne Phoenix recruit stepped up to register a game-high 23 points including 5 three-pointers with 3 rebounds. Despite letting the game get away, Crailsheim remains 2 game clear of the relegation zone and proving they belong in the Bundesliga.
Anadolu Efes Instabul delivered an important 92-70 EuroLeague victory against FC Barcelona Lassa in the fight for fourth place, and in doing so put themselves 1 game clear of their rivals and gained the head-to-head advantage. Brock Motum saw just 2 minutes on court, but would remind everyone of his capabilities in their return to the Turkish Super League just one1 game later.
Up against Türk Telekom, Motum was finally given some much-needed court time and duly unleashed. The 2016 Rio Olypian put on an offensive masterclass, shooting 11-17 from the field including 2-5 from downtown on his way to clocking up a game-high 28 points with 4 rebounds. It was a timely reminder of the forward's scoring ability and helps push his case for increased minutes for the remainder of the season.
In Italy, Vanoli Cremona took care of Oriora Pistoia 90-80, with Mangok Mathiang anchoring the middle with aplomb as he has done all season. The 6'10 big man finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, helping his team to a 14-7 record and within 1 game of second placed Umana Reyer Venezia in the Serie A standings.
Zlatorog Laško's run toward to a playoff berth showed no signs of slowing as they moved past Šentjur 76-57 in the Slovenian national league. Matur Maker contributed 10 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks as he continued to patrol the paint with purpose. With Maker contributing yet another double-double, Laško are on the playoff periphery in ninth place, tied with eighth placed Helios.
Round 22 of the French Pro A saw Nathan Jawai injected into the starting line-up for Levallois against third placed Naterre. While Jawai was able to add 6 points, he played just 13 minutes as Levallois fell 82-90 on the road.
It was a different story for Strasbourg who started off on fire against Chalon/Saône, opening up a 9 point lead at the end of the first term via a 27 point opening outburst. Nathan Sobey and David Andersen played a combined 18 minutes for 5 points and 2 rebounds, as Strasbourg moved into sixth place and well in the playoff hunt as they pulled away for a commanding 92-77 win.
Chima Moneke tipped in 14 points with 7 rebounds but Denain could not hold off a fast finishing Evreux who prevailed 68-65 in the French Pro B. Denain led by 15 points at the first break, but the home side slowly worked their way back into the game before stealing the win with 6 seconds to play.
Paris went down to Orléans 76-86 also in the French second division. Dan Dillon provided 5 points and 6 assists, but his side was unable to find a way past second placed Orléans. The loss leaves Paris two games outstide the playoff equation, while Denain is now just 1 win above the relegation zone.
In the Spanish second vision, Dan Trist chimed in with 9 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists but Caceres fell 71-80 to competition benchmark Real Betis Energia Plus. Obi Kyei's Forca Lleida enjoyed a better time of things in their 78-70 win against Coviran Granada. Kyei added 8 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench in the win. Forca Lleida moved up into eleventh place in the standings, while Caceres remains in second last place in the LEB Oro.