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EuroView: Next round aspirations on the line in Eurocup
As the end of the Eurocup group stage draws near, the teams of Chris Goulding and David Andersen will be playing for their Eurocup futures with only two matches remaining as CAI Zaragoza and Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne try to lock down top-4 finishes in their respective groups.
Chris Goulding's CAI Zaragoza currently sits in a three-way tustle for the final two remaining spots in Group A along with Paris Levallois and Telekom Baskets Bonn. CAI Zaragoza find themselves in this position after a huge 90-75 win against Telekom Baskets Bonn creating a log-jam for next round aspirations in the group.
Goulding continued his solid output by scoring 14 points in the win in a solid all-round scoring effort by the Spanish team. In 8 games so far this season, the Aussie sharp-shooter has scored in double figures in all but one match while currently still shooting an impressive 43.5% from the 3-point line while dropping 26 of 27 free throws attempted for the Eurocup season.
CAI Zaragoza find themselves in an enviable position by this week taking on the bottom-placed team in Group A - Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia - where they will look to set themselves up for their final group stage game where they will look to have their next round fate in their own hands.
Meanwhile, Asvel Lyon Villeurbanne are in Group B where only the top-placed side - Brad Newley's Herbalife Gran Canaria - has been decided thus far. Asvel this week lost their 2nd match in a row this time against FoxTown Cantu 79-69 on the Italian's home floor. Andersen scored 9 points in 24 minutes of play as Asvel now look to a must-win encounter against Telenet Oostend away in Belgium this week. Considering their final group stage match is against the undefeated Herbalife Gran Canaria, Asvel have an uphill battle to progress beyond the group stages.
The undefeated Herbalife Gran Canaria this week took care of business once more this time trouncing JDA Dijon 94-60 at home. Newley continued his offensive resurgence this season by top-scoring for the 2nd week in a row with 16 points. Every Gran Canaria player scored that took the court with five players scoring in double-figures, further showing the quality team work and ball movement that has underlined the Spanish team's play this season.
Elsewhere in the Eurocup, Ryan Broekhoff and his Turkish club Besiktas Istanbul continue to battle it out in a very competitive Group D. Besiktas now share the best record in the group with BC Khimki after the Russian side took the honours against Besiktas at home 82-78 and could prove pivotal in deciding the ultimate leader of the group.
Broekhoff played limited minutes in the loss scoring 4 points in 15 minutes, his lowest minutes played for the season where he was averaging over 30 per game before this fixture.
Besiktas this week find themselves with a lengthy road trip once more as they head to Latvia to take on Group D cellar dwellers VEF Riga.
The one Australian who unfortunately will not be seeing action beyond the group stages this year is Daniel Johnson and Polish team Stelmet Zielona Gora. After securing their maiden Eurocup victory of the season last week, the Poles went down to Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 100-85. Johnson's minutes contain to wane as the season progresses, scoring 4 points in 14 minutes.
Both Aleks Maric for Maccabi Tel Aviv and Nathan Jawai for Galatasaray did not take to the floor in the Euroleague as it too draws near to the conclusion of the group stage.
Although it has been a shaky season by its usual standards, Maccabi has now punched their ticket to the round of 16 after this week overcoming ALBA Berlin 95-80. Galatasaray meanwhile face a huge match this week that will go a long way to deciding their Top 16 aspirations. They will be up against Neptunas Klaipeda in Lithuania who share the same record as the Turks at 3-5 after Galatasaray went down to Laboral Kutxa Vitoria 89-82 at home.
The Group standings are largely in expected order nearing the next round as powerhouse clubs Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos have all ensured their place in the top 16.
In addition to Galatasaray's big match this week, the other key encounter that will affect standings leading into the final group stage round is UNICS Kazan v Zalgiris Kaunas. Both teams are sitting at 4-4 while Russian club Nizhny Novgorod are hot on their heels at 3-5 as all three teams look to fill that final two spots in Group A.
Euroleague Top 10 Plays of the Week: Round 8
After a week off the EuroChallenge returned to action this week which saw Daniel Dillon and CSM Oradea host BC Astana in Romania. Dillon and CSM Oradea failed to atone for their loss to the Kazaks in the opening round of the season as BC Astana took victory once again 83-74.
In 30 mintes Dillon scored 10 points on 4/9 shooting while leading his team in assists with 8. For BC Astana, former NBL player Anatoly Kolesnikov managed just 4 points in 25 minutes.