Australian Boomer Brock Motum played an integral role in the fourth quarter to help rally Zalgiris Kaunas to a 66-62 win over Polish champions Stelmet Zielona Gora to commence their Euroleague campaign.
Making his Euroleague debut, Motum came off the bench and made an immediate impact. The versatile forward delivered 16 points on 6/9 shooting (2/4 3PT) with 6 rebounds and 1 assist. More importantly, he came up with big plays down the stretch to help Zalgiris overcome a 7 point deficit at the last break. the Lithuanian side would finish the game with a 12-2 run over the final 6 minutes, with Motum’s massive put-back slam with 1:10 remaining putting Zalgiris ahead for good (make sure you watch the highlights).
It was a tightly contested first half, with Zielona Gora pulling away in the third term to open up a double-digit margin. Motum, along with team mates Paulius Jankunas and Olivier Hanlan helped spark the final quarter run that would see Zalgiris edge ahead late to steal the win.
It was an encouraging debut for Motum in the best league outside of the NBA. Scoring 16 points at such an efficient clip in only 22 minutes on court certainly demonstrates his value. If he can maintain his production he is going to make a great case for entering the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
Also making his Euroleague debut was fellow Boomer Ryan Broekhoff with his new side Lokomotiv Kuban. Playing at home, Lokomotiv rode big second and fourth quarter runs to account for the traditional powerhouse Panathinaikos Athens 81-70.
After the visitors made an impressive start to the game, Lokomotiv made inroads to steak back the lead by half time. The third period saw both teams trade the lead, while the home side's defense restricted the Greek's in the final quarter to allow them to open up an 11 point final margin.
Broekhoff played an important support role in the win, finishing with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist as a starter in almost 25 minutes of action in what is shaping as a star-studded squad.