26 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
FIBA Europe Cup domestic round-up: Nanterre top Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France
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FIBA Europe Cup domestic round-up: Nanterre top Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – Teams participating in the FIBA Europe Cup had another eventful weekend in domestic championships, headlined by the clash between Nanterre 92 and Pau-Lacq-Orthez in France and an impressive display by BK Pardubice against the league-leading CEZ Nymburk in Czech Republic.

Elsewhere, Vytautas returned to winning ways in Lithuania by registering a double-digit victory against rivals Pieno Zvaigzdes to move up to fifth place in the standings.

FIBA Europe Cup leaders meet in France

Although their paths will not cross in the FIBA Europe Cup in the foreseeable future, the only two undefeated teams in the competition, Nanterre 92 and Pau-Lacq-Orthez, faced off in the French LNB Pro A this past weekend.

Having come into the game with identical 8-3 records, it was the Pascal Donnadieu-coached Nanterre side who registered an 85-74 victory against their rivals to move ahead in the standings.

After having their four-game winning streak was snapped by Strasbourg last week, Nanterre returned to winning ways behind terrific performances from Spencer Butterfield and Mathias Lessort.

Butterfield finished the game with 20 points and 6 assists, while Lessort chipped in with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite taking a 35-22 lead after an excellent first quarter, the hosts could not hold on to it for long, as D.J. Cooper scored 10 points in six minutes and single-handedly got Elan Bearnais right back in the game.

Cooper finished the evening with a game-high 21 points and 10 assists, but it did not prove enough, although Pau-Lacq-Orthez had even taken a 61-53 lead midway through the third period.

That is when the biggest break in the game occurred, with Nanterre turning up the defensive pressure and going on an unstoppable 22-3 run that lasted well into the fourth quarter and decided the outcome of the game.

Elsewhere in France, two other FIBA Europe Cup teams picked up wins, with Elan Chalon routing ASVEL 98-68 and BCM Gravelines-Dunkerque celebrating an 89-87 win against Chalons-Reims on the road.

Pardubice hand first loss to top-of-the-league Nymburk 

Pardubice registered a big upset in the Czech NBL league by handing the defending champions CEZ Nymburk their first defeat of the season in the domestic championship.

After leading for the majority of the game, Pardubice allowed Nymburk to make a late run, but held off their titled opponents to claim an 81-77 home victory when the final buzzer sounded.

"We are very happy to have won the game. We knew that Nymburk are tremendous on the fast break, but we managed to prevent that. Secondly, it was important we never allowed Nymburk to get up by a bigger advantage. In the end, it was mostly about luck: they did not make a couple of free-throws and we were able to win the game," said Pardubice big man Radek Necas.

Down by double digits at the end of the third quarter, CEZ got back in contention with a 9-0 run that put the visitors ahead 74-73 with 2:23 left in the contest. However, Dominez Burnett took matters into his own hands and put Pardubice back in front.

Burnett finished the game with 21 points and 6 rebounds, Lamb Autrey chipped in with 17 points, while David Skranc was the only other player for the hosts in double digits with 11 points. For CEZ Nymburk, Eugene Lawrence had a team-high 16 points and 6 assists.

"Congratulations to Pardubice. I think in the end the team that was more ready to win the game. We can't win forever, it's a long season," said the head coach of the previously undefeated CEZ Nymburk side Ronen Ginzburg.

Nymburk remain comfortably atop the NBL standings with a 14-1 record, while Pardubice improved to a 12-3 mark, which puts them in second place.

Vytautas defeat Pieno Zvaigzdes in Lithuania

Vytautas Prienai-Birstonas moved up to fifth place in the Lithuanian LKL after putting together a clinical second-half display against the visiting Pieno Zvaigzdes.

Enjoying a dominant season in the FIBA Europe Cup, the Lithuanian side has lacked consistency on the home front, but a 96-77 victory against one of their main rivals in the standings will go a long way.

Coming into the game, Vytautas had won only one of their last four games in the LKL and the first half of the meeting with Pieno Zvaigzdes was not at all promising for coach Virginijus Seskus once again, as his side failed to break away.

However, things flipped after the intermission, as the guard duo of Vytenis Cizauskas and Tomas Dimsa stepped up and provided Vytautas a much-needed boost that jump-started the entire team.

Having comfortably won the third quarter, the Prienai-Birstnas side increased their lead to 16 points and went on to record a double-digit victory in typical high-scoring fashion.

"Looking from the side, the nearly 20-point margin might seem big, but the win wasn't that easy. It's good we won one stretch and created some breathing space for ourselves, because they fought hard. It's important we found different players who could carry the team as the game went along," said the team's play-caller Seskus.

Dimsa finished the game with 16 points and 5 rebounds, Cizauskas chipped in with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, while Arturas Valeika made all six of his field goals and only free-throw for 13 points on perfect shooting.

The win allowed Vytautas to improve to a 7-8 record and go ahead in the victory column against Pieno Zvaigzdes and Juventus Utena, both of whom are 6-9, in the jam-packed middle section of league of the table.