Anadolu Efes clinches a hard-fought win over Zalgiris in Top 16
It was third time lucky for Anadolu Efes, as the Istanbul side earned a precious victory on home court by finally beating Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas for the first time in three Euroleague meetings this season.
With its tight 56-52 win, Anadolu Efes continued its positive momentum to position itself as a solid contender in Group E of the Euroleague’s Top 16. The Turkish outfit is third with a record of 4-1, the same as Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow. Spanish favorites Real Madrid lead the group with five victories from five games.
Serbian guard Sasha Vujacic scored 12 and Josh Shipp added 11 points for the locals. Tremmell Darden and Mindaugas Kuzminskas each scored 10 for Zalgiris. Anadolu Efes will now travel to Spain to play Unicaja Malaga on Feb. 1.
Elsewhere, Beşiktaş fell to their fifth straight defeat in the Euroleague Top 16, falling 63-57 in a narrow loss away to Group F leader Montepaschi Siena. After a sloppy start, the Turkish outfit rallied from a 37-26 deficit at half-time to forge into the lead, 45-43 – leaving it within touching distance of making the surprise of the night – but was unable to resist Siena’s fight-back in the final quarter. The Italian side is now in sole position of the Group F lead with a record of 5-0, one win better than Spanish challengers Caja Laboral and FC Barcelona Regal.
Viktor Sanikidze led the way for the hosts with 14 points in the encounter. Curtis Jerrells posted 16 points for Beşiktaş in a losing cause.
Beşitaş will next welcome Israel’s Maccabi Electra, who are 1-4, on Jan. 31 in Istanbul.