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EuroView: Mangok Mathiang's double-double powers Vanoli into semi-finals
Australians continue to feature in playoff action across a number of European leagues, with Mangok Mathiang continuing to assert himself in the Italian Serie A despite being left out of the Australian Boomers squad.
Despite an efficient offensive performance from Mangok Mathiang, Vanoli Cremona fell short on the road to Alma Trieste 86-91 to extend the quarter-final series to a fourth game. Mathiang contributed 14 points on 6-8 shooting with 7 rebounds in 33 minutes, but the visitors were not able to close out their series.
In the fourth game, Vanoli hit back to steal the road win 81-78 and book their semi-final berth with a 3-1 series win. While little separated either team, it was again a veteran performance by Mathiang that helped prove the difference. The former Charlotte Hornets big man contributed 14 points on 6-8 shooting with 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals to help power his side to victory. Vanoli are yet to learn of their semi-final opponent, awaiting the winner of the Umana versus Dolomiti series which is headed to a deciding fifth game.
Strasbourg were dismantled in game 1 of their French LNB quarter-final series 62-94 against Dijon, placing them on the back foot in the series. They were out-rebounded, and have up 23 free throw attempts of which 20 were converted in the big loss. David Andersen and Nathan Sobey had little opportunity to contribute, both playing just 9 minutes off the bench and were unable to trouble the scorers.
Game 2 saw Strasbourg look to return fire and did just that in the opening term to pull away to a 26-9 lead. While they still led 19 points at half time, the second half would prove a different story. Dijon were outstanding after half time, restricting Strasbourg to just 24 points as they came from behind to take an 89-85 win and an imposing 2-0 series lead. Sobey came off the bench to provide an offensive spark, scoring 8 points oon 3-4 shooting (2-3 3PT) with 3 assists, but Andersen only played 2 minutes for 2 points and 2 rebounds.
Dynamic's final four aspirations in Serbia were dealt a blow following a devastating 98-125 loss to Mega Bemax. Despite a big game from Australian guard Mirko Djeric, Dynamic were out-rebounded and forced into more turnovers in the tough loss. Djeric drained 7-10 three-pointers to log 27 points with 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals in a brilliant individual performance, but his team now slumps to 4-5 and 2 games behind Mega Bemax in the standings with just 1 more game to play.
It was a must-win game 4 in the Israeli second they in grand final series for Hapoel Jerusalem and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr, they trailed Maccabi Haifa by 16 points at three-quarter time and all looked lost. While a 19-10 run in the final term gave them a chance, they went down 69-76 to hand the National League title to their opponents. Lual-Acuil Jr capped a very good series with a near double-double, adding 7 points and 9 rebounds.
In Turkey, Anadolu Efes Istanbul advanced to the semi-finals after cruising past Banvit 2-0 in the best-of-three series. Brock Motum did not play in either game, with only 5 foreigners able to suit up, and noting Efes has 9 on its roster. Efes will now play the winner of Galatasaray and Gaziantep who are currently locked at 1-1 in their series.