Ryan Broekhoff and Lokomotiv into EuroCup semifinals
Ryan Broekhoff was his usual solid self for Lokomotiv Kuban as his side progressed to the EuroCup semifinals while Brad Newley made a valuable contribution in AEK Athen's Top 16 win in the Basketball Champions League.
Round 24 of the Euroleague came to a tip-off with Zalgiris Kaunas taking on Fenerbahce Istanbul. Right from the start, both teams seemed to be evenly matched as they continued fighting back and forth for much of the game. However a third quarter collapse by Zalgiris put Fenerbahce ahead as they outplayed the Lithuanian side 25-17 in the period. But Zalgiris wouldn’t let that deter them, as they fought their way back into the game, but by then it was a little too late.
Fenerbahce had already built a big lead, and Zalgiris had almost no chance at getting themselves back into it after that. So the Turkish side ultimately pull away ahead, winning the game 76-67.
Brock Motum pitched in 10 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal in 26 minutes of action. He also got to show off his shooting touch for a big-man, hitting 2 of his 5 three-ball attempts on the night.
Lokomotiv Kuban came away victors in their first match-up against Zenit St Petersburg, with Ryan Broekhoff’s hustle and energy really setting the tone for the team. Broekhoff finished the game with 4 points, 7 rebounds (a team-high) and 1 steal in 19 minutes of play. His ball-hounding defense was a key catalyst in Lokomotiv coming away out on top. They held Zenit St Petersburg to just 26.9% shooting from the field, and that played a huge part in them falling behind.
Zenit St Petersburg had no answer to scoring on the stingy Lokomotiv defense, and they fell apart because of it. The team just couldn’t seem to get the lid off the basket, so Lokomotiv took advantage of that, and earned themselves a 75-52 win. With victory, they swept their way into the semifinals of the 2017 EuroCup.
Lokomotiv Kuban had a chance to sweep the series after they came out of the gates leading by 18 points at one point in time. But Lokomotiv Kuban started to take their foot off the gas pedal after that, allowing Zenit St Petersburg to fight their way back into the game. And a lot of that had to do with Loko Kubans offensive woes in the second half. The team didn’t seem to be on the same page, and they almost let a huge lead slip up because of it. However, in the end they didn’t allow that discourage them. Despite a couple of sloppy plays through the final two quarters, Lokomotiv Kuban was still able to come away with the win, beating Zenit St Petersburg 88-77.
Ryan Broekhoff was everywhere defensively this game. He did a fantastic job fighting through screens, and forcing opposing guards into taking tough, contested jumpers. Broekhoff just simply refused to give up any easy baskets to his adversary. He even held opposing guard/forward Janis Timma to 1 of 5 shooting on the night. An now with the win, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar officially advanced to the EuroCup Semi-Finals.
AEK Athens started with a strong first period and finished off the fourth with another good period to win a thrilling 69-68 Top 16 encounter with AS Monaco.
The Greek side got it done in the paint, owning the rebound count 40-29 and heading to the line 33 times for 25 makes. Brad Newley played 13 minutes in coming off the bench for his new side, adding 4 points and 4 rebounds in that time to make a valuable contribution.Monaco will host the return encounter with a place in the quarter finals on the line.