It is decision time in the Eurocup Quarterfinals. Two road warriors – Strasbourg and Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas – took leads in their respective series and now return home to defend their margins. Two other teams – FC Bayern Munich and Dolomiti Energia Trento – grabbed double-digit leads at home and will try to qualify by holding those differences away from home. Every point, every possession counts through one game on Tuesday and three on Wednesday to decide the semifinalists!
Quarterfinal A: Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul vs. FC Bayern Munich
Bayern has a 10-point lead in the series after a 99-89 home win in Game 1. Deon Thompson led the way for Bayern with 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Dusko Savanovic scored 19 points while Alex Renfroe added 17 and 5 assists. Vladimir Micov led Galatasaray with 22 points. Bayern managed to slow star guard Errick McCollum, who nevertheless finished the game with 15 points and 7 assists. Bayern outrebounded Galatasaray by 41-31 and hit 10-for-16 three-point shots (62.5%), two of the main keys to Game 1. Galatasaray had 20 points to just 7 turnovers but allowed 99 points and 16 offensive rebounds. Expect a great crowd in Abdi Ipekci Arena, where Galatasaray only lost once in the Eurocup this season, winning its last five games there by an average margin to 27.2 points.
Quarterfinal B: Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora
Gran Canaria defeated Zielona Gora 82-93 in Game 1 of their two-way series and therefore has an 11-point lead going into its home game. Alen Omic had a huge game in Zielona Gora, leading Gran Canaria with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Sasu Salin added 16 points for Gran Canaria, while Dee Bost led Zielona Gora with 20 points. Gran Canaria has been strong at home, only losing twice – against Strasbourg and Limoges CSP – but Zielona Gora is 4-0 on the road – and 0-5 at home! – this Eurocup season and already knocked off Unics Kazan in the eighthfinals in a similar scenario. Gran Canaria outrebounded Zielona Gora by 37-28 in Game 1 and dished 28 assists – a new club record in its 129 games in the Eurocup. Zielona Gora must improve its defense, after allowing 93 points, to get closer to its goal of becoming the first Polish team to reach the Eurocup Semifinals.
Quarterfinal C: Strasbourg vs. Nizhny Novgorod
Strasbourg holds a nine-point lead in the series after downing Nizhny 85-94 on the road. Strasbourg hopes to become the first French team to advance to the semifinals while Nizhny is looking for its second semifinals appearance in three years. Mardy Collins paced the series leaders with 24 points. Romain Duport added 18 while Jeremy Leloup had 14 for Strasbourg, which made 10 of 14 three-point shots. Evgeny Baburin led Nizhny with 20 points and Semen Antonov added 18 while Strasbourg’s defense did a great job of stopping star forward Victor Rudd, who finished the game with just 5 points. Nizhny did good things in Game 1, committing just 10 turnovers and pulling down 12 offensive rebounds, but Strasbourg’s shooting percentages – 65.9% on two-pointers and 71.4% on three-pointers – made the difference. To try to win by 10 points on the road, Nizhny’s first job is to lower those percentages.
Quarterfinal D: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan vs. Dolomiti Energia Trento
Trento arrives to this game with a double-digit lead after beating Milan 83-73 in Game 1. Peppe Poeta was the x-factor for Trento, as he averaged 3 points in 17 games but had 20 against Milan. Trento pulled down 25 offensive rebounds, tying for the second-best mark in Eurocup history. Trento’s star big man duo of Davide Pascolo and Julian Wright combined for 32 points and 19 rebounds. Mantas Kalnietis led Milan with 16 points while Milan Macvan had 14. Milan led by as many as 8 points in the first half but a 16-2 run put Trento in charge for good late in the third quarter. Other than not allowing that many offensive boards, Milan must shoot better that 50% on two-pointers, its first-game rate, in order to overcome that deficit. Milan is 4-0 at home in this Eurocup season but Trento has stolen five road wins until now.
Be sure to follow the Eurocup Quarterfinals on live broadcasts at Eurosport and right here on Eurocupbasketball.com!