Euroleague and Eurocup have both commenced the next stages of their respective competitions in the New Year, with the results mixed for the Australian men in action.
After progressing through the regular season of Eurocup without a loss, Herbalife Gran Canaria commenced the opening round of the Last 32 with a commanding 91-76 victory over Dinamo Sassari in Italy. The Spanish visitors gained the early ascendancy and although Sassari would fight back, Brad Newley and his team proved too balanced in attack , connecting on 63.8% on their field goals in pulling away. Newley was outstanding, firing in three of his four triples in the final quarter on his way to finishing with 23 points. He would also deliver 1 rebound with 3 assists and 4 steals in playing 31 minutes in what was a great start to the next stage of Eurocup. Newley has been in outstanding form, delivering 12 points and 3.9 rebounds per game across 11 Eurocup contests. Gran Canaria next plays host to Montenegro's KK Buducnost Voli Podgorica who lost to Banvit Bandirma in their opening clash.
Brad Newley - Courtesy Herbalife Gran Canaria
"It was an important game for us, the first Round of the Last 32. Playing in Europe is always difficult. We played strong and I’m glad that we won" - Brad Newley
Unfortunately for Chris Goulding and his team CAI Zaragoza, they went agonizingly close to earning a road win against Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia. It was a tough, close contest, with neither team willing to give anything away. It all came down to the final possessions, and while Zaragoza tied the game up at 80 thanks to making both from the charity stripe, Cedevita's Fran Pilepic nailed his 5th three-pointer with just 1.5 seconds left to secure a stunning 83-80 victory. In his 27 minutes, Goulding provided 9 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Like Newley, Goulding has been in great form across 11 Eurocup games this season, averaging 13.6 points while shooting 40.3% from beyond the three-point line. Virtus Rome will be Zaragoza's next opponent at home who will arrive with a 1-0 record after they accounted for Krasny Oktyabr Volgograd in their opening game.
Besiktas Integral Forex were stunned by a red-hot shooting Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir at home in Turkey, going down 77-105. The visiting fellow Turkish side connected on a Eurocup Last 32 record 18 three-pointers and were just 1 point shy of the record for the highest visiting team score. Karsiyaka opened the scoring with a triple and never looked back in a game that Besiktas will be wanting to quickly forget. Swingman Ryan Broekhoff was solid, scoring 10 points with 3 rebounds and 1 steal with his team-mate and the Eurocup's leading scorer Chris Lofton held to just 5 points. Broekhoff's three-point shooting has been sensational, connecting on 48.8% of his attempts in averaging 9.8 points and 5 rebounds per game across 11 Eurocup fixtures. Besiktas next travels to Paris Levallois who lost their opening game against Neptunas Kleipeda.
You can watch Eurocup action live on Eurosport Australia via Foxtel. Next week's games being broadcast are as follows:
Wednesday, 14th January
4:45am AEDST: Banvit Bandirma (TUR) vs Dinamo Sassari (ITA)
Thursday, 15th January
4:00am AEDST: Lokomotiv Kuban (RUS) vs Valencia (ESP)
6:00am AEDST: Brose Baskets (GER) vs Bayern Munich (GER)
Australia's two active Euroleague representatives throughout the regular season both changed teams over the festive season. With Nathan Jawai departing Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul and the Euroleague competition for Morabanc Andorra in Spain, fellow big man Aleks Maric is now Australia's lone remaining participant in the Final 16 of Euroleague following his move from 2014 Euroleague Champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to Jawai's former team in Turkey.
After making a host of roster changes over the Christmas period, Galatasaray surprised many by opening their Final 16 campaign with a 78-69 win over Lithuanian side Zalgiris Kaunas in an empty arena due to sanctions placed on the Istanbul-based side. the visitors led for most of the first three-quarters before Galatasaray began to gel together as a team and slowly work their way towards a strong win. With Maric playing a back up role in coming off the bench, he played 11 minutes and provided 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal.
Against Euroleague heavyweight Real Madrid, Maric earned a starting berth as both teams entertained in a great first quarter of basketball. However the Spaniards displayed their depth and class in the second period as they stamped their authority on their home court to open up a commanding 16 point margin at the main break. While Galatasaray continued to challenge, they were not able to overcome the second stanza deficit and fell 78-93. Maric's minutes increased to 17 and he delivered 4 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist in a support role. Galatasaray are now 1-1 to open the Final 16 round of competition and remain on the road in their next game against winless Serbian outfit Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade (broadcast live on Eurosport Australia) who also lost to Real Madrid but also to reigning champions Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.
You can watch Euroleague action live on Eurosport Australia via Foxtel. Next week's games being broadcast are as follows:
Friday, 16th January
6:05am AEDST: Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv (ISR) vs. FC Barcelona (ESP)
Saturday, 17th January
5:00am AEDST: Fenerbahce Istanbul (TUR) vs Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
6:45am AEDST: Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade (SRB) vs Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul (TUR) - Aleks Maric
The EuroChallenge aspirations are over for Australia's lone representative in this competition, Dan Dillon and his Romanian team CSM Oradea. They ended their campaign as one of just three teams without securing a win and finishing with a lackluster 0-6 record at the conclusion of stage 1. In the 5 games he played, Dillon posted the respectable numbers of 13.8 points (47.3% FG), 4.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.