Zalgiris keeps winning in Lithuania
Fresh off its third-place finish at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, Zalgiris Kaunas continued its winning ways by roaring past Nevezis Kedainiai 75-96 in Game 1 of their best-of-five Lithuanian League quarterfinals series on Thursday. Zalgiris outscored Nevezis in all four quarters and outshot its opponent from every distance. Axel Toupane led the winners with 22 points, Vasilije Micic scored 14, Paulus Jankunas 13, Edgaras Ulanovas 11 and Kevin Pangos shined with 10 points and 12 assists. Lester Medford led Nevezis with 16. Game 2 is on Friday.
Reds, Greens win big in Greece
Greek giants Olympiacos Piraeus and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens started the Greek League semifinals in style with resounding home wins. Olympiacos pounded Promitheas Patras 108-71 behind a balanced attack in which 11 different players scored at least 6 points. Janis Strelnieks paced the offense with 18 points, Georgios Printezis and Ioannis Papapetrou netted 13 each and Vangelis Mantzaris scored 10, while Vassilis Spanoulis tallied 9 points and 6 assists. The Reds pounded the ball inside for 44 points in the paint, which was 20 more than Promitheas, but also made 13 of 24 three-pointers (54.2%), which proved to be a winning recipe. Mouhammed Faye and Casey Prather scored 16 points each in defeat. Panathinaikos bested PAOK Thessaloniki 92-79 on the strength of a monster game from Nick Calathes. The All-EuroLeague guard tallied 17 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists for the Greens. Backcourt mate Mike James also scored 17, Chris Singleton posted 13 and Lukas Lekavicius 10. Panathinaikos never trailed and led by as many as 24 before PAOK rallied to make the final deficit more respectable. Dimitrios Katsivelis led PAOK with 16 points and 7 rebounds.
VTB: CSKA, Zenit cruise to victories
CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg chalked up victories to start the VTB United League quarterfinals on Thursday. CSKA rolled over VEF Riga 83-112 with seven scorers in double figures. Nando De Colo and Will Clyburn scored 15 points apiece, Victor Khryapa and Othello Hunter had 14 each and Vitaly Fridzon, Kyle Hines and Sergio Rodriguez all scored 10. De Colo also dished 7 assists for the winners. Khryapa and Clyburn buried back-to-back three-pointers in a 0-10 second-quarter run that broke the game open and CSKA never looked back. Kaspars Berzins led VEF with 20 points. 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinalist Zenit led from start to finish in defeating Avtodor 91-80 in their opener. Sergey Karasev was perfect in 14 trips to the line en route to 21 points to pace the winners. Kyle Kuric scored 17, Evgeny Voronov 12 and Shayne Whittington 11 for the victors. Coty Clarke paced Avtodor with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Efes, Tofas advance to Turkish semifinals
Anadolu Efes Istanbul and Tofas Bursa advanced to the semifinals in the Turkish League by completing 2-0 sweeps in their best-of-three quarterfinals series on Thursday. Efes edged 7DAYS EuroCup champion Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul 78-79. Efes went ahead on a Sonny Weems layup with 17 seconds remaining and EuroCup MVP Scottie Wilbekin missed from downtown on the game’s final possession. Weems led Efes with 24 points, Bryant Dunston totaled 14 points and 10 rebounds, Errick McCollum had 12 points and Dogus Balbay collected 10 points and 6 assists. Wilbekin led all scorers with 29 points and Micheal Eric had 21 points and 10 rebounds in defeat. Efes led by as many as 19 in the second quarter and was ahead 32-42 at halftime. Darussafaka rallied in the second half to lead late, but Efes had the final word. Earlier, Tofas topped Eskisehir Basket 98-99 after overtime on a Raymar Morgan jumper with 5 seconds left. The hosts took charge early and led 47-44 at halftime and 77-64 in the fourth quarter before Tofas rallied to lead late. Billy Baron tied the game at 85-85 with 14 seconds to go in regulation, but Tofas missed two chances to win it before the buzzer. In the extra session, the lead went back and forth before Morgan lifted Tofas. Sammy Mejia led Tofas with 26 points, Morgan scored 19, Tony Crocker had 14 and Pierra Henry flirted with a triple-double with 11 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Baron led Eskisehir with 26 points and Bugrahan Tuncer added 20 in defeat.
ALBA takes 2-0 lead in German semis
ALBA Berlin took a commanding 2-0 lead in its best-of-five German League semifinals series over MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg with a 74-100 victory on Thursday. ALBA led from tip to buzzer, completely dominating the first quarter, which ended 8-28. Ludwigsburg fought back in the second and Thomas Walkup’s triple closed the gap to 37-42 at halftime. Luke Sikma scored 5 in a 0-15 run to open the second half and ALBA never looked back. Spencer Butterfield paced the winners with 17 points on 3-of-6 three-point shooting, Joshiko Saibou added 14 points, Bogdan Radosavljevic 12 and Akeem Vargas 11. ALBA made 11 of 21 threes (52.4%) and won the battle of the boards 32-43. Elgin Cook laced the Ludwigsburg attack with 21 points.
Brescia tops Milan in Game 1 in Italian semis
Germani Basket Brescia started the Italian League semifinals on the right foot with an 82-85 road win over AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. Bryce Cotton helped Brescia to a 36-43 halftime lead and Benjamin Ortner extended the margin to double figures in the third quarter. The lead peaked at 13 before Milan rallied to tie it at 78-78 on a Vladimir Micov triple with two minutes remaining. Michele Vitali put the visitors back ahead and despite Micov’s best efforts, Brescia held on for the victory. Michele Vitali led the winners with 20 points and 6 assists and Cotton added 14 in the win. Micov scored 17 for Milan and Arturas Gudaitis added 14 points in defeat.
Anwil strikes first in Polish finals
Anwil Wloclawek took a 1-0 lead in the Polish League finals by edging BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wielkopolski 62-61 in Game 1 of the best-of-seven finals on Thursday. Josip Sobin paced the winners with 19 points and eight rebounds. Quinton Hosley and Ivan Almeida each had 10 points for Anwil. Adam Lapeta led Ostrow with 16 points. Ostrow led 52-54 with over three minutes left but Almeida and Sobin took over in crunch time and a critical basket by Hosley sealed the outcome, 62-58, with five seconds remaining. Game 2 is on Saturday.