EuroView: Motum at his efficient best
Brock Motum returned to his efficient best in Lithuania, joined by David Andersen and Mitch McCarron as members of national league-leading teams in Europe.
Brock Motum was brilliant in scoring 16 points (8/9 FG) with 5 rebounds in 21 minutes as BC Zalgiris Kaunas decimated Siauliai 80-59 in Lithuania. Zalgiris blew the game open from the start with a 26-10 quarter, delivering a great all-around performance. Though Siauliai fought back and reduced the lead to 5 heading into the final quarter, Zalgiris flicked the switch again to close the match with a 28-12 fourth stanza. Zalgiris dominated on the glass 43-30 and dished out 16 assists in yet another easy victory for the Lithuanian powerhouse. Motum had another important game and is starting to build some momentum after a few lean games. Zalgiris are in a league of their own, with just one loss from 13 games and are tearing through the league yet again.
Daniel Dillon scored 13 points as PGE Turow lost to a spirited Wiliki Morskie, 84-86. As usual, Dillon was doing everything he could to get his team over the line, tallying 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 turnovers to go with his 13 points (6/14 FG). Dillon was consistent at the rim but was pressing a bit too hard for the long-range shot, and it showed as he hit just one of five. Both teams were very evenly matched, as the score would suggest. Though it was the late run of Morskie that got them over the line, as they finished with a strong 21-27 final quarter to take the win and move equal to Turow with a 4-6 record.
VOO Verviers-Pepinster were surprised by 9th ranked Liege in the Scooore League in Belgium, with the aggressive style of the lower-ranked Liege resulting in victory 96-81. This was despite the strong play of Ben Madgen, who scored 23 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Madgen went just 4/14 from the field, but earned his points at the line, converting a perfect 13/13 at the charity stripe. Verviers-Pepinster were let down by their ball-handling time after time, finishing with 22 turnovers compared to just 7 for Liege. This really is what cost Verviers-Pepinster and credit must go to Liege for forcing many of the turnovers that led to their victory.
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne moved to 10-2 for the season with an impressive 66-59 victory over Nanterre. ASVEL played well for the majority of the contest though they were evenly matched by Nanterre. It wasn’t until the third quarter that ASVEL were able to build a lead and get stops consistently on the defensive end. All-Star David Andersen had a solid outing for ASVEL, scoring 13 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 33 minutes. He finished 2/6 triples and played his role in what was an important win, as it ensures ASVEL maintain top spot, one game ahead of Monaco.
Brad Newley scored just 4 points (2/9 FG), 3 rebounds and 2 assists in Herbalife Gran Canaria’s 85-68 loss to Real Madrid in Spain. Madrid has dropped just one game this season and were favoured to win and they played like it. The game was won and lost on the glass, with Madrid dominating the boards 45-33 and playing excellent offense to match. It was a disappointing performance from Gran Canaria, yet they still sit in the sixth position on the league table with a 6-3 record.
Breogan defeated Oviedo 88-81 to inflict just their third loss, albeit having come in their last four games. It was a good game for Breogan as they pushed the pace and forced turnovers from Oviedo. Despite the high-pressure defense, Dan Trist held his own with 8 points and 4 rebounds in 25 minutes. Oviedo and Trist would have expected more, though it was not unexpected given their recent form. Oviedo’s slump has seen them slide to fifth on the league table with a 7-5 record.
Mitch McCarron scored 8 points as Palencia moved to an 11-1 record and the top of LEB Gold in Spain. Palencia came home in a tight final quarter to defeat Planasa NV 76-71. Palencia took care of business against a solid opponent, putting in a sufficient performance to simply earn the win. McCarron was a solid contributor off the bench, shooting 3/7 from the field and collecting 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Palencia now have a two-game lead on second placed Palma and are looking very impressive right now.
After a slow first half, Lokomotiv Kuban lost a tense game to second ranked Unics Kazan 56-58. Tied at 21-21 at the half, both teams played terrible basketball on the offensive end, mostly as a result of poor play rather than stringent defense. Ryan Broekhoff also failed to contribute in a meaningful manner on the offensive end, scoring just 2 points with 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 25 minutes. Broekhoff was 0/7 from the field and was just not finding his rhythm. Yet one of Broekhoff’s great assets is his ability to impact the game without shooting, shown by his 8 rebounds. Shooting just 31% from the field, Lokomotiv were always going to struggle, but in an even contest it came down to the finals plays to decide the winner.
In the Adriatic League, Aleks Maric collected 10 points (4/5 FG) with 3 rebounds before fouling out in just 14 minutes as Buducnost VOLI Podgorica defeated Krka 78-84. The result was not much of a surprise, as Buducnost is leading the league with a 12-2 record while Krka are in 7th place.