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Landale and Mathiang delivering the goods in Europe
Jock Landale and Mangok Mathiang both came up with big games to help their teams to much needed wins in European continental leagues this week.
In the EuroLeague, Zalgiris Kaunas registered their second win in a row after holding off ASVEL Villeurbanne 79-74 in a closely contested game. Landale managed to come up with big plays across the game to help keep Zalgiris in the contest, before they finished the stronger team in the final minute to hold on for a 5 point win.
Landale finished with 12 points on an efficient 5 of 6 shooting, making both of his free throws and adding 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 22 minutes. Zalgiris improved their record to 8-14 with the victory, and within sight of the top 8.
Brock Motum's Valencia shored up a spot in the EuroLeague top 8 with an impressive 94-87 victory in front of their home fans. Valencia opened up the game across the second and third terms, before holding on for the 7 point win. Motum was scoreless in playing just 7 minutes, all of those coming in the second period.
Across in the FIBA Europe Cup, Mangok Mathiang continued to dominate the paint at both ends as Bahcesehir accounted for ZZ Leiden 89-87 in a thriller to qualify for the quarterfinals. Mathiang found his way to the free throw line with his team trailing by two points with just 1:06 remaining. Mathiang calmly made both to tie up the ball game, before team mate Jamal Jones came up with the offensive rebound and put-back to secure the win in the last 8 seconds.
Mathiang was unstoppable inside, delivering a 16 point and 10 rebound double-double, also adding 1 blocked shot in playing 26 minutes. The win ensured Bahcesehir gained outright second place in Group L with a 3-2 record and a guaranteed place in the FIBA Europe Cup quarterfinals.
Cameron Bairstow and Rytas Vilnius did not have the same kind of success, finding themselves on the wrong end of a 61-87 drubbing at the hands of AS Monaco in the EuroCup.
Rytas were totally overwhelmed in the first half, being outscored 53-15 in a first half they would want to forget, their lowest ever EuroCup effort up to the main break. They trailed 12-32 at quarter time before only managed 3 points in a horrid half of basketball. While they would go on to regroup and win the second half 46-33, the damage had already be done.
Aussie forward Cameron Bairstow played almost 16 minutes as a starter, adding just 3 points and 5 rebounds as Rytas slumped to 2-2 in Group G. They will be hoping to bounce back against UNICS Kazan on the road in Russia next week.