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EuroView: Maric and Andersen wind back the clock
Aussie big men Aleks Maric and David Andersen continued to wind back the clock in leading the Aussie charge in Europe over the Christmas period.
In the Adriatic League, Aleks Maric has been a shining light in helping lead Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to the top of the table. In a narrow 83-81 win over Mega Leks, Maric delivered another big performance with 18 points (6/6 FG, 6/10 FT), 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. the visitors earned the win after overcoming a 6 point half time deficit thanks to a pivotal 29-18 third quarter.
Maric followed up with another perfect shooting game on his way to 13 points (5/5 FG) with 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals as Buducnost held off Zadar 65-52. Buducnost were just too strong across the board, shooting at a better clip and taking advantage of all the key moments throughout the game. With the two victories, they remain in outright 1st place with an imposing 15-2 record.
David Andersen’s ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne have fallen from the top spot after a 78-66 loss to Monaco. ASVEL entered the game with mixed form, despite leading the French Pro A League, as the visitors got out of the gates strong and secured a six-point lead at the half.
A rousing 29-15 quarter from Monaco blew the game wide open and essentially secured the victory. Andersen gave his all to assist the ASVEL cause, adding a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, going 5/8 from the field and 1/2 from three-point range. Andersen played well on both ends, but ASVEL’s defense let them down at times and was probably the difference in a game of two powerhouses. It was ASVEL’s third loss in their last six games and has seen them slide to fourth on the league table. Andersen will next be in action for the foreign team as part of the French All Star Game being held on New Year's Eve.
Herbalife Gran Canaria went down 84-77 in an electrifying overtime loss to Morabanc Andorra. After a back and forth contest, Andorra cruised in overtime thanks to a 10-3 extra period that secured the victory. Brad Newley scored 8 points with 2 rebounds in 28 minutes. He went 2/6 from three-point range and put himself in good scoring opportunities, but ultimately failed to capitalise, as did Gran Canaria, who shot a lowly 14/34 from the field. Gran Canaria played well on the whole and were unlucky to lose, with their 22 assists a highlight of the contest. The hosts also out-hustled Gran Canaria on the glass 37-30 and made the most of their extra possessions. With the loss Gran Canaria remain in the fifth position on the Spanish ACB table.
Ben Madgen was again the leading scorer for VOO Verviers-Pepinster in an 87-104 loss to Limburg United in the Scooore League in Belgium. Madgen delivered 23 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist, including a handy 4/9 from three-point range. The former Sydney King has also made a habit of getting to the line, scoring 5/6 at the charity stripe. The Aussie guard thrived in the quick and explosive game that opened with a 26-34 quarter. The difference between the two teams was that Limburg punished the opposing defense, shooting 54% from the field compared to 42% for Verviers-Pepinster. The Wolves have now won just 4 of 12 games and sit in ninth position on the league table.
Ryan Broekhoff scored 8 points in Lokomotiv Kuban’s dominant 80-50 victory over Tsmoki-Minsk in the VTB United League. Broekhoff also added 3 rebounds and an assist just 22 minutes, as minutes were spread among the bench with the lead at 12 points going into half-time. The win ensures Lokomotiv remain in 7th position with a 7-5 record.
Brock Motum scored 11 points as BC Zalgiris Kaunas led all the way in a 71-88 victory over Pieno Zvaigzdes in Lithuania. Zalgiris jumped out to a 14 point lead after the first quarter and withheld a strong challenge from Zvaigzdes in the second term, cruising to a comfortable win. Motum played 22 minutes and was 5/9 from the field alongside 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Unlike Motum, the rest of Zalgiris lived at the charity stripe and that is where they secured victory, finishing 22/24. Zalgiris moved to an impressive 15-1 record and look to be pressing for yet another title this season as they sit atop the standings.
Spanish LEB Gold league-leader Palencia secured their 13th win of the season with 56-63 victory over Ourense. Mitch McCarron played 16 minutes and scored 3 points (1/3 FG). Palencia is now three wins clear on top of the league table.
Still in Spain, Oviedo fell short to Burgos 63-78 despite a big surge home in the final quarter. Oviedo would finish with a 22-12 run home but were still unable to overcome a big third quarter deficit. Dan Trist, although well held offensively, managed to pull down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with 4 points and 2 assists. While Burgos moved up into 3rd place, Oviedo remain in 5th in the standings.