Spain: Barcelona, Baskonia stay perfect, Joventut wins in OT

FC Barcelona and KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz improved to 2-0, while Joventut Badalona came back from an early game deficit to register its first win in Round 2 of Group A at the Spanish League end-of-season tournament on Friday.

Conor Morgan scored all of his 9 points at the very end of regulation and overtime, lifting Joventut Badalona to its first win at the Spanish League end-of-season tournament, edging Bilbao Basket 79-86 on Friday. Joventut improved to 1-1 record in Group A, while Bilbao dropped to 0-2. Bilbao took early control behind 7 points from Emir Sulejmanovic, including a triple that helped Bilbao open 13-6 lead, but Joventut quickly erased the deficit. One three-pointer from Nenad Dimitrijevic and a pair from Klemen Prepelic put Joventut up 20-23 late in the first quarter. Teams kept trading punches in the second quarter, with Bilbao holding slim leads and taking 45-43 into halftime. A triple-plus-foul from Rafa Martinez helped give Bilbao 52-43 lead midway through the third, but Alen Omic and Prepelic fueled a 1-7 run in the third, and another basket from Omic restored Joventut’s lead, 57-59 early in the fourth. A three from Xabi Lopez-Arostegui made it 61-66 midway through the fourth, but Bilbao answered with an 8-0 run to go back in front. Dimitrijevic and Prepelic restored Joventut’s lead, but a dunk from Ben Lammers made it 73-71 with 1:40 to go, then the same player came up with a big block on the defensive end. However, Morgan, scoreless up to that point, tied it at 73-73 banking in a runner with 10 seconds to go in regulation, sending the game into overtime. Morgan opened the extra session with a triple and a transition dunk. Sulejmanovic brought Bilbao within a single point, but Lopez-Arostegui and Morgan scored the final 6 points of the game to secure Joventut’s win. Prepelic led the way in victory with 21 points. Lopez-Arostegui finished with 13 points and Dimitrijevic had 11 points and 7 assists. Rousselle netted 18 points for Bilbao, and Martinez scored 16 in a losing effort.

FC Barcelona battled to beat Unicaja Malaga 73-84 and improve to 2-0, while Unicaja dropped to 1-1 record. Deon Thompson scored on both ends of a 9-2 run that gave Unicaja 13-4 lead to start the game. Thompson added another triple to the tally, helping keep Unicaja up 20-14 at the end of the first quarter, but Ante Tomic, Adam Hanga, Kyle Kuric and Alex Abrines put together a 0-8 run to opend the second quarter and put Barcelona in front. Three-point plays from Carlos Suarez and Frank Elegar restored slim lead for Unicaja, which went up 41-38 into halftime. Teams traded baskets in the third quarter, before Barcelona went on a run from a free throw line and Victor Claver knocked down a three-pointer to help open 56-61 going into the fourth quarter. A three-point play from Hanga, and a triple from Kuric extended it to 58-69 early in the fourth, before a 1-10 run increased the margin to 63-79, sealing the deal. Nikola Mirotic paced the winner with 19 points, and Tomic collected 16 points plus 7 rebounds. Hanga scored 11, while Kuric and Brandon Davies scored 10 apiece for Barcelona. Adam Waczynski had 13 points, and Thompson scored 12 in a losing effort.

In the last game of Friday’s program, Baskonia never trailed before holding off Iberostar Tenerife 79-72. Baskonia first took control with an 8-0 first-quarter run fueled by Luca Vildoza, and the same player hit a three-pointer to open the second quarter and make it 25-15. Tenerife closed within 30-24 on a triple from Aaron White, but Michael Eric and Tornike Shengelia combined to score 12 points before the end of the quarter to put Baskonia up 44-33 at halftime. White’s three-point play cut it 50-43 midway through the third, but Jayson Granger hit a triple and Shengelia scored twice in a 7-0 run, and margin reached 65-48 late in the third. Tenerife rallied, and Sasu Salin’s three-pointer got it within 70-65 with 5 minutes to go, before baskets from Vildoza and Shavon Shields, and a triple from Shengelia iced the game. Shengelia was everywhere with 21 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in a victory, while Iimane Diop, Vidoza, Shields and Eric scored 10 apiece. Giorgi Shermadini had 18 points plus 11 rebounds for Tenerife, while Salin and Nick Zeisloft each netted 13.

Germany: Ludwigsburg eliminates Bayern, to meet Ulm in Semis

MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg eliminated two-time reigning champion FC Bayern Munich from the German League Final Tournament at the Quarterfinals stage after losing 73-74 in Game 2, but winning the aggregate score 160-157 – setting up a date in the Semifinals with ratiopharm Ulm. Marcos Knight led Ludwigsburg with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Jaleen Smith added 18 points and Thomas Wimbush scored 10 points. Bayern, which had lost Game 1 by four points, had four players score in double figures, paced by Paul Zipser with 16 points while Danilo Barthel had 14, Mathias Lessort 12 and Vladimir Lucic 11 points. Ludwigsburg and Ulm will face off in the Semifinals on Sunday June 21 and Tuesday June 23. Ulm finished off Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt 96-69 after winning 101-61 in Game 1. Dylan Osetkowski picked up 20 points and 10 rebounds to pace Ulm with Andi Obst chipping in 19 points, Archie Goodwin scoring 13 points and Thomas Klepeisz tallying 11 points and 8 assists. Gytis Masiulis and Yorman Polas Barttolo both scored 14 points to top Frankfurt’s scorers list.

The game was tight in the first quarter until Obst knocked down two three-pointers to open a 23-18 lead, which was 23-20 after 10 minutes. Frankfurt started the second quarter with the first seven points and Richard Freudenberg and Matthew McQuaid both hit from long range in a 4-17 run and Skyliners led 38-48. Ulm tallied the final nine points of the first half and trailed just 47-48 at intermission. Osetkowski picked up seven points in an 11-3 run to go up 63-57 and he added five more points as Ulm picked up 10 straight points and took a 73-60 lead, which was 73-63 after 30 minutes. And Ulm opened the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run to end any doubt that Skyliners could even win Game 2.

In the first game of the day, Bayern’s sharpshooters were on target early as Maodo Lo, Lucic and Zipser all buried three-pointers for a 9-15 lead. An Ismet Akpinar long ball ended a 2-8 spurt as Bayern was up 15-23, and then 18-23 after 10 minutes. Zipser started the second quarter with a big dunk and four-point play as the Bayern cushion grew to 18-29. Knight responded with a three-ball to help Ludwigsburg pull within 28-33. Lo added another triple and the reigning champs were up 36-45 at the break. In the third quarter, Lessort scored two baskets and TJ Bray knocked down a triple to put Bayern ahead 42-54. But Bayern managed only two free throws in the final 6:27 minutes of the third quarter and Smith’s three-pointer at the end of the quarter cut the margin to 52-56. Ludwigsburg drained two more treys to start the fourth and pull ahead 58-56. Barthel punched back with a three-pointer as Bayern finally scored after nearly 10 minutes without a basket. Smith and Lucic exchanged threes as the fourth quarter remained tight. Lessort converted two free throws with 55 seconds left as Bayern led 71-72 and with 16 seconds left the French big man scored a basket but missed the and-one to make it 71-74 – meaning Bayern still trailed in the aggregate by one point. Ludwigsburg tipped the missed free throw out of bounds, but Bayern’s Petteri Koponen turned the ball over with 5 seconds to play. After Knight hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds, Bayern had one last chance, but Lucic’s three-point attempt to tie the series was off target and Ludwigsburg advanced.

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