FIBA Europe League Round-Up


by Jeff Taylor, PA International

UNICS Kazan discovered very quickly that their FIBA Europe League title defence will be anything but easy as they scraped a 78-75 overtime win over Fenerbahce.

UNICS guard Shammond Williams scored 30 points
There were several close games on Tuesday, the opening night of the campaign, and none was more thrilling than the Group A clash in Kazan where 5,000 spectators were on hand.

The Turkish outfit led 68-58 with five minutes left but were unable to hold off UNICS, whose former NBA guard Shammond Williams played all 45 minutes and scored 30 points.

Much of his damage came in the closing stages as UNICS pulled level at 73-73 to send the game to overtime. The home team then prevailed in the extra period.

The 1.88m Williams, who also had seven rebounds and four assists, is having quite an adventure in his first European season.

His close friendship with Georgian center Zaza Pachulia led him to joining Georgia's national team.

Kaspars Kambala had a double-double in his first FEL game for UNICS Kazan
Latvian center Kaspars Kambala, another UNICS close season addition, had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

FYR Macedonia club Fersped Rabotnicki lost at home 88-62 to BC Kyiv in another Group A game.

The visitors from the Ukraine, who got 17 points from Greek Ioannis Giannoulis, stormed out to a 22-11 first quarter lead and were in control the rest of the way.

In Group B, Iscar Strauss Nahariya defeated Azovmash Mariupol 87-82 with Eric Campbell scoring 25 points in the win.

The Israelis were 81-71 up, but former Israeli national team playmaker Lior Lubin brought the visitors back.

He buried a couple of three-pointers, handed out an assist for another basket and then, after being fouled by Arthur Lee while shooting from behind the arc, made three free throws to give Azovmash an 82-81 advantage with a little more than two minutes left.

Barak Peleg stopped the rot with a three-pointer and Amit Ben David added a layup to put the Israeli club back in charge for good.

Lubin, who spent last season with Hapoel Tel Aviv, said in the Haaretz newspaper: "It was our first encounter against a strong team.

We were a bit naive at the end
Lior Lubin
"We were a bit naive at the end, but that's because we lack experience."

Turkish side Besiktas claimed a 76-74 win on the road at Belgian outfit Pepinster, and BS Energy Braunschweig bounced back after losing two on the trot in Germany to defeat Ural Great 57-55.

Ural Great, the winners of the Russian Cup last season, also reached the final four in the FIBA Europe League.

Greek outfit Ionikos Amaliada won the other Group B game 94-84 over Dijon.

In Group C, BC Khimki were 84-73 winners over Tuborg Pilsener, while Demon Astronauts Amsterdam lost at home to Bnei-Hasharon 79-61.

And Strasbourg, who lead the French top flight with six consecutive victories, defeated Polish club Anwil Wloclawek 78-58.

In Group D, Paris Basket Racing won a 63-62 thriller at Iraklis and KK Lavovi 063 of Serbia & Montenegro defeated Ukraine side Khimik 95-94. Marko Pekovic led the winners with 24 points.


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