Besiktas Integral Forex Istanbul grabbed a sole possession of the first place in Group D with a resounding 57-80 road win over Union Olimpija Ljubljana. With this victory Besiktas improved to 5-1 and all but qualified for the Last 32, while Olimpija dropped to 4-2 and a shared of the second place with Khimki Moscow Region.
The visitors took control with 5 three-pointers in the first quarter that helped them open a double-digit lead. They held 30-42 at the break, before opening the third quarter with a 0-11 run that broke the game wide open. Eurocup’s leading scorer Chris Lofton led the way with 27 points on 6-for-10 three-point shooting, and Engin Atsur added 13 points in victory. Alen Omic scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half for Olimpija, and Marko Marinovic netted 12 in the losing effort.
It was a quarter of big runs in the opening 10 minutes. Besiktas opened the game with a 1-9 lead, run capped with a three-pointer from Atsur, but Olimpija replied with back-to-back triples from Marko Marinovic and Hristo Nikolov to help reach 10-9 lead. However, Besiktas answered with four consecutive three-pointers, two apiece from Ryan Broekhoff and Lofton, grabbing 14-24 lead after the first period. Paolo Marinelli started the second quarter with a three for Olimpija, but Kenan Bajramovic hit from downtown for Besiktas, and Kerem Tunceri raced for a fastbreak layup to help the visitors to 17-31. Klemen Prepelic and Halil Kanacevic scored for the hosts, and despite Lofton making his third shot from downtown, a three-pointer from Marinovic cut it to 29-36. But Bajramovic scored 4 points to make sure Besiktas takes 30-42 lead into the break.
On its first three possessions of the second half, Lofton scored twice, before Atsur added a triple for 30-49. Atsur and John Holland added layups to cap a 0-11 run. Olimpija stepped it up on defense, however, and held Besiktas without a field goal for the final 7 minutes of the quarter, and behind 7 points from Alen Omic cut the deficit to 42-56 going into the final 10 minutes. A triple from Marinovic and a pair of baskets from Omic cut it to 49-58, but any thought of a comeback disappeared with back-to-back long range shots from Lofton. His third triple in less than 2 minutes, and sixth for the night, extended it to 51-67, and Besiktas never looked back, ending the game on a 4-12 run.