20 September, 2018
01 May, 2019
0 Trae Golden (SARA)
to read

Avtodor Saratov, Ironi Ness Ziona and Petrolina AEK complete the Second Round picture

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – The last three vacancies in the Second Round were filled by Avtodor Saratov, Ironi Ness Ziona and Petrolina AEK after the trio extended their FIBA Europe Cup campaigns with eleventh hour victories on Wednesday.

Most of the drama on the last day of the Regular Season took place in a tightly-contested Group D, with Avtodor and Ness Ziona claiming the top two spots in the standings at the expense of New Heroes Den Bosch, who met their unfortunate fate in Saratov.

Perrin Buford of Avtodor administered the knock-out blow in the 89-79 contest by collecting 23 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks, as the Russian side buried their Dutch visitors with 10-of-21 shooting from three-point range.

Five of the home side's triples came in the last stanza, fueling a back-breaking 25-10 run that eventually overpowered the short-handed nine-man Den Bosch side.

Tre McLean posted 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and a pair of blocks, Trae Golden had 14 points and 4 assists, while Avtodor prospect Nikita Mikhailovskii went off for 13 points, 6 boards and 4 dimes in the first game under the newly-appointed head coach Dusan Alimpijevic.

"We are really satisfied with the outcome, because that was a win-or-go-home game for both clubs. With the new coach, we have changed our approach to work and began to play tougher defensively," explained Avtodor center Artem Zabelin.

"The game was hard because New Heroes also really wanted to advance to the next round of the FIBA Europe Cup. However, we managed to change the flow of the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter due to three-pointers and the dedication of all our players."

For the visitors, Keshun Sherrill scored a game-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, but Ivica Skelin's men didn't have enough in the tank to hold off the Russian offensive powerhouse.

Ironi Ness Ziona clinched a spot in the Second Round by easing past BK JIP Pardubice 104-84 in the other fixture, with the trio of Gerald Lee, Daequan Cook and Oded Brandwein collecting 17 points apiece on the road in Czech Republic.

Yaniv Solomon and Elishay Kadir were also in double figures for the visitors, while Donovan Jackson paced the home side's scoring with a game-high 25 points, as Kamil Svrdlik double-doubled with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Israeli side finished the Group Phase with a second-best 4-2 record in Group D, with Avtodor topping the table with an unmatched 5-1 mark.

Meanwhile, the Kyle Vinales-led Petrolina AEK ensured Cypriot presence in the Second Round by overpowering Tsmoki-Minsk 82-77 in the winner-takes-all contest in Group D.

Having gone 9-of-16 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the line, Vinales registered his second 30-point game of the season, as Jure Skific and Vladimir Veremeenko chipped in with 11 and 10-point efforts, respectively.

D.J. Shelton and Vitali Liutych were the lone Tsmoki players in double figures with 14 points each, while Aliaksandr Semianiuk and Aliaksandr Kudrautsau contributed with 9 points apiece.

Elsewhere, Bakken Bears finished the Regular Season as the only unbeaten team in the competition after securing Group E laurels with a dominant 100-77 victory against Z Mobile Prishtina, while the previously perfect records of Alba Fehervar and Lukoil Levski fell in Italy and Greece.

Pallcanestro Varese finished first in Group F with a 5-1 record by handing Alba a 91-66 defeat, while Levski's winning streak in Group G fell at the hands of the already eliminated Aris, 81-76.

Meanwhile, Szolnoki Olaj stayed at the top of Group H with a narrow 84-81 win against Leicester Riders to neutralize Dinamo Sassari's 92-60 win over Falco Vulcano in Hungary.

Long out of the Second Round picture, the trio of Dnipro, Rilski Sportist and Steaua Bucuresti left the competition on a high note. After going winless in the five previous Regular Season contests, they all secured wins on Wednesday.

Dnipro got the better of Kataja Basket in Group F with an 81-65 scoreline, Rilski Sportist bested FC Porto 91-79  on the road in Group E, while Steaua beat Cherkaski Mavpy 87-70 on the back of a 20-point, 14-rebound, 4-assist and 6-steal game by Skylar Spencer.