20 September, 2018
01 May, 2019
2 Vincent Simpson (KATA)
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Six more teams through to the Second Round

MUNICH (FIBA Europe Cup) – An action-packed Wednesday night in the FIBA Europe Cup saw six more teams secure spot in the Second Round well ahead of schedule, snatching up all available tickets to the next phase in Groups E, G and H.

Bakken Bears, Dinamo Sassari, Kataja Basket, Lukoil Levski, Szolnoki Olaj and Z Mobile Prishtina joined the only other previously qualified side Alba Fehervar, who got the job done on Tuesday.

Paced by the one-two punch of Vincent Simpson and Daniel Mullings, comeback specialists Kataja Basket stole the spotlight with another memorable fightback in Group G to steal an 88-86 win against Aris despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half of the contest.

Simpson paced the victors with 31 points and Mullings double-doubled with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals, as the Finnish side improved to a 3-1 record while sending their challengers from Thessaloniki to 1-3.

Aris were eliminated from Second Round contention completely after Lukoil Levski wrapped up an 88-72 win over Dnipro half an hour later to improve to a 4-0 mark in the standings and resolve the situation in the table.

In Group E, it was Bakken Bears and Z Mobile Prishtina teaming up with wins to lock up spots in the next phase of the competition. The Danish title-holders breezed past Steaua Bucuresti 98-63 to move to 4-0, while Z Mobile Prishtina beat Cherkaski Mavpy 92-73 on a neutral court in Vilnius.

Having won both of their games against Mavpy, the Prishtina side, 3-1, hold the necessary tie-breaker to eliminate their Ukrainian rivals, who are 1-3, from the race.

After Szolnoki Olaj scored an 83-66 victory over Falco Vulcano on Tuesday, Dinamo Sassari similarly finished the job in Group H. The Italian club torched the short-handed Leicester Riders 95-60 behind a 22-point, 12-rebound and 5-assist performance from Achille Polonara to keep their status perfect at 4-0.

Their win was enough for Szolnok, 3-1, to reserve a spot in the Second Round ahead of Falco Vulcano (1-3) and Leicester Riders (0-4).

Although it did not put them through to the next round just yet, Darius Thompson and Maurice Watson Jr. put on a show in Group A, guiding ZZ Leiden to a come-from-behind 99-97 win over Sakarya BSB in overtime. 

Thompson set a new FIBA Europe Cup season-high in scoring with 36 points, while Watson chipped in with 25 points and 6 assists to push the Dutch side's mark to 3-1 in the standings.

In the other game of Group A, s.Oliver Wurzburg joined ZZ Leiden at the top of the table following a 91-82 win over the visiting Romanian champions CSM CSU Oradea, with Jordan Hulls collecting a team-high 23 points and Perry Ellis adding 20 points.

There were wins for Ironi Ness Ziona and New Heroes Den Bosch in Group D, with the Israeli side topping Avtodor Saratov 104-86 and the Dutch team coming away with a 68-64 triumph against BK JIP Pardubice.

Donar Groningen returned to winning ways in Group C by eliminating Istanbul BBSK with an impressive 85-47 win in Turkey, while Pinar Karsiyaka topped the visiting Spirou Basket 90-72 after outscoring the Belgians 35-13 in the fourth quarter.

In Group B, the previously unbeaten Balkan were denied early qualification by Petrolina AEK, who inscribed a 78-77 win in Bulgaria thanks to a clutch free throw by big man Vladimir Veremeenko.  

Pallacanestro Varese finished Wednesday's action with a dominant 86-59 performance against Rilski Sportist, improving to a 3-1 mark and eliminating their rivals from Samokov in Group F.