Home-court advantages reign
The home-court advantage established by two of the loudest sets of crowds in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague did its job on Thursday as Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and Panathinaikos OPAP Athens opened Round 6 with home wins. It was the third consecutive day of EuroLeague action and the start of the second of two rounds played in this final week of October. Round 6 concludes Friday with seven games.
Crvena Zvezda 90-78 Khimki Moscow
Crvena Zvezda romped past Khimki 90-78 in an impressive showing at both ends of the floor on Thursday night at Aleksandar Nikolic Arena in the Serbian capital. Borisa Simanic scored a career-high 18 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting to lead the winners, who improved to 2-4 on the season. Billy Baron shot 3 for 4 from behind the arc en route to a season-best 17 points for Zvezda. Alexey Shved scored a season-low 14 points for Khimki, which fell to 4-2. Zvezda never trailed in the game after opening it with the first 8 points. The big blow was a 14-0 third-quarter run and the lead eventually reached 27 in the fourth before Khimki rallied late to lower the deficit.
Panathinaikos 86-70 Anadolu Efes
Panathinaikos grabbed its third win of the EuroLeague season by downing Efes 86-70 at OAKA in the Greek capital on Thursday. Panathinaikos improved to 3-3 in the standings and Efes dropped to 4-2 as its four-game winning streak came to an end. Tyrese Rice led the winners with 18 points and Nick Calathes posted a double-double. Shane Larkin paced Efes with 28 points. Efes led 51-54 midway through the fourth quarter but Rice and Georgios Papagiannis fueled a 17-1 run that gave Panathinaikos the lead and the victory.
Zenit St Petersburg 70-87 CSKA Moscow
Defending champion CSKA Moscow got back to winning ways by defeating fellow Russian side Zenit St Petersburg 70-87 on Friday at Sibur Arena. CSKA raised its record to 5-1, good for at least a share of second place, while Zenit remains winless at home, dropping to 2-4. CSKA took control with a 3-19 run bridging the first two quarters to open a 15-point lead. Zenit erased that with a 15-0 third-quarter run, but Mike James and Darrun Hilliard answered by hitting 4 consecutive triples as CSKA pulled away again and cruised to victory. James led CSKA with 16 points, while Johannes Voigtmann had 14 points and 7 rebounds. Nikita Kurbanov and Darrun Hilliard scored 13 apiece for the winners. Gustavo Ayon paced Zenit with 20 points on 10-for-14 two-point shooting and 8 rebounds. Will Thomas added 14 points and Austin Hollins 13 points for the hosts.
Fenerbahce Beko 76-79 Zalgiris Kaunas
In one of the fastest, most incredible comebacks in Turkish Airlines EuroLeague history, Zalgiris Kaunas edged Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 76-79 on the road on Friday. Zalgiris improved to 3-3 in the standings while Fenerbahce dropped to 1-5 with its first home loss of the season. Marius Grigonis led the winners with 19 points, while Zach Leday added 16. Nando De Colo led Fenerbahce with 29 points. Kostas Sloukas had 13 and Derrick Williams 12 for the hosts, who led 76-69 with a minute left. Paulius Jankunas and Jock Landale shined early but an outstanding Nando De Colo helped Fenerbahce tie the game, 17-17, after 10 minutes. De Colo kept pacing Fenerbahce, getting help from Kostas Sloukas and Williams to give the hosts a 40-33 margin at halftime. A layup by Alex Perez tied the game, 47-47, but De Colo and Sloukas helped their team restore a 59-52 lead after 30 minutes. Zalgiris got within 69-67 but Luigi Datome and Williams boosted the hosts’ lead to 76-69 with a minute left. Grigonis hit a triple and Nigel Hayes converted a three-point play off a steal that put Zalgiris close, at 76-75. Grigonis then buried a go-ahead lane jumper with 7.1 seconds left. Jan Vesely missed at the other end and Grigonis assured his team’s comeback victory from the foul line.
Valencia Basket 81-72 LDLC ASVEL
Valencia Basket claimed its first victory of the season with a hard-fought 80-72 home triumph over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, which drops to 3-3 for the season and is still waiting for its first road win. ASVEL was very much in contention throughout, holding a slender lead at half-time and keeping its options alive until the very last minute, but ultimately Valencia was able to capitalize upon a second-half burst inspired by Quino Colom to claim a much-needed victory. Bojan Dubljevic led a balanced Valencia offense by scoring 13 points, while Guillem Vives was the only other home team player in double figures with 10 points. Colom combined 9 points with 6 assists, most of which came during Valencia’s strong second-half spurt. The game’s highest-scorer was ASVEL’s Livio Jean-Charles, who made 9 of 11 two-point attempts to register 20 points. Former Valencia player Antoine Diot also shone with 17 points and 6 assists, and Edwin Jackson added 10 points.