Efes strikes first in Turkish semis
Anadolu Efes Istanbul edged its city rival Galatasaray Istanbul 82-77 to take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five Turkish League semifinals at Sinan Erdem Dome on Friday night. Adrien Moerman, Bryant Dunston and Kruno Simon scored all Efes points as it opened 20-11 lead in the first quarter, but Galatasaray quickly caught up and took 26-27 lead on Aaron Harrison’s three-pointer. Teams traded blows, but the visitors took 41-43 into halftime and held 50-55 after back-to-back triples from Harrison and Tai Webster. Triples from Rodrigue Beaubois and Simon helped Efes restore the lead, and go into the fourth quarter with a slim margin, and Efes never trailed again. Marko Arapovic did tie it at 73-73 with a three-pointer, but Vasilije Micic answered with a three of his own and Efes allowed only a single basket over a span of more than 4 minutes, taking a 79-75 margin into the final minute and preserving the victory. Beaubois collected 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists to lead five double-digit scorers. Micic scored 16 points, while Dunston had 15 points plus 10 rebounds. Harrison scored 17 points for Galatasaray, and Zack Auguste amassed 12 points and 13 rebounds in defeat. Game 2 is scheduled on Sunday.
Unicaja shoots its way past Valencia
The visiting Unicaja Malaga hit 16 three-pointers and used a huge third quarter by Dragan Milosavljevic to shock 7DAYS EuroCup champion Valencia Basket 78-85 and take Game 1 of their best-of-three Spanish League quarterfinals series. Valencia held 45-40 at halftime, but Milosavljevic caught fire in the third quarter in which he scored 17 points, including 5 three-pointers to give Unicaja a 9-point lead and ensure the visitors take 60-65 into the fourth quarter. Unicaja went on to score the first 7 points of the final quarter and put together a 2-11 run to open a 62-76 lead. Valencia attempted a rally, got within 71-79, but Jaime Fernandez hit a triple to seal the deal. Milosavljevic netted 28 points making 5-of-5 two-pointers and 6-of-7 triples while Waczynski netted 16 point ins victory. Sam Van Rossom had 15 points and 7 assists for the hosts, and Will Thomas scored 12 points in defeat. FC Barcelona Lassa started the playoffs in style, defeating Divina Joventut 87-61 in their series opener on Friday night. Chris Singleton got Barcelona going early, helping it to 26-16 first-quarter lead which it never relinquished. After a low-scoring second quarter and 35-31 halftime lead, Thomas Heurtel fueled a big third-quarter run that had Barcelona up 53-34. The hosts never looked back, as Heurtel had 17 points, while Singleton and Victor Claver scored 15 apiece. Ante Tomic had 8 points and 11 rebounds in a big victory. Nobel Boungou-Colo scored 13 points for Joventut.
Sassari rallies to down Milan in OT
Banco di Sardegna Sassari rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit on the road to stun AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 101-112 in overtime of Game 2 of their best-of-five Italian League semifinal series. It is second road win for Sassari over Milan in three days, and it holds 2-0 lead as the series moves to Sassari for Game 3, and potentially Game 4. EuroLeague’s Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Mike James hit 5 three-pointers in the second quarter, but Milan only held 53-52 lead at halftime. In the third quarter James Nunnally started a three-point barrage, with Vladimir Micov, Nemanja Nedovic and James all joining in as Milan hit 7 triples in 10 minutes to open 81-71 lead after three quarters. The margin grew to 12 points in the fourth, however, Sassari did not go away. Achille Polonara, Rashawn Thomas and Marco Spissu hit four consecutive threes to get the visitors within 92-89. James nailed his eighth three-pointer to make it a 6-point affair, but Dyshawn Pierre hit a corner triple with 9 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. In the extra session, led by Polonara and with triples from Pierre and Spissu, Sassari put together a 0-14 run scoring on its first seven trips down the floor, paving its way to victory. Polonara finished with 29 points, Pierre scored 21 while Alessandro Gentile scored 15 points in the victory. James netted 32 points on 8-for-12 three-point shooting, Micov scored 21 and Nunnally had 17 points in defeat.