Group A saw wins for the three favourites on Thursday night but in rather different styles. Barcelona’s woes from the free throw line saw them make hard work of Partizan, Fenerbahce won a a shootout with Budivelnik Kiew, while CSKA Moscow had to dig deep for a road win at Nanterre.
A dominant fourth quarter gave Fenerbahce Ulker a road win in Kiev on Thursday night. The home side stayed in the contest on the back of 62 points between the second and third quarters alone. This impressive streak on offence was fuelled by Janis Strelniks, 14 points and 5 assists, and Darius Lavrinovic, 21 points and 4 rebounds. The underdogs however weren’t able to contain the breadth of scoring options available to Zelijko Obradovic. Bojan Bogdanovic, 21 points and 4 rebounds, led Fener’s 7 scorers who reached double digits. Emir Preldzic chipped in with 14 points, 5 boards, and 7 assists, while Bo McCalebb had 11 points and 4 boards in a 102-84 win.
CSKA Moscow went to Nanterre as big favourites and barely escaped with the W. The French side burst into an early lead and CSKA didn’t reel them in until the final frame. Even then Ettore Messina’s side were fortunate to shake off the underdogs, eventually pull through for a 62-59 win. It was an ugly game from deep for both sides but Sasha Kaun had another impressive night on the inside, following up a dominant display against VEF Riga on Sunday. Kaun had 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting and picked up 9 rebounds in Thursday’s 62-59 win.
Barcelona’s issues from the charity stripe meant they couldn’t shake of Partizan’s challenge in the Palau Blaugrana. Making just 8 of their 19 free throws on the night Xavi Pascual’s eventually eked out a 67-60 win but the lead was rarely more than two possessions for either side all night. A Juan Carlos Navarro three early in the final frame, his lone bucket in a miserable 1 of 7 display, gave the home side their first real breathing room of the night and they managed to keep Partizan at arm’s reach for most of the remaining 7 minutes. The visitors however made good use of their dominance on the boards. What they lacked in guard play compared to Barcelona, they more than made up for on the inside. Marcelinho Huertas however was in merciless form as his notched up 10 points and 10 assists while Ante Tomic added 13 points for the home side.
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