01 September, 2016
30 April, 2017
Jamal Shuler
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Weekend round-up: Monaco, Le Mans among early leaders in France

(BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE) – AS Monaco and Le Mans Sarthe, two of the French clubs which compete in the inaugural Basketball Champions League, are among the five sides that can boast of an unbeaten start to the Pro A season after the conclusion of the first two gamedays in the French league.

At the weekend, Monaco showcased their steely defence and used an outstanding second quarter stretch to breeze past Chalon/Saone 68-52 and claim their second win in as many games. Dee Bost had 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor to leaf the Monegasque side to victory.

Ryan Pearson meanwhile erupted for 27 points and added 13 rebounds to register a superb double-double effort and lead Le Mans to their second success of the season as they out-scored Pau-Lacq-Orthez 92-78 at home. Monaco and Le Mans share top spot in the Pro A with Nanterre, Antibes and Limoges.

The other two French teams that compete in the Basketball Champions League, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne and SIG Strasbourg, had both suffered opening-day defeats and clashed on Sunday night in Strasbourg looking for the first success of the season new season. ASVEL poured in 52 points after the break and held the hosts to just 29 and rode out with an 84-76 victory. Trenton Meacham paved the way for the reigning French champions with 17 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting while Mam Jaiteh had 12 points and eight rebounds for Strasbourg in defeat.

In the German Easycredit BBL, both Fraport Skyliners and MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg started the new campaign on the right foot by winning their season openers on Sunday night. Ludwigsburg prevailed 82-68 over Telekom Baskets Bonn at home behind a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double by newly-arrived center Jack Cooley. 

Skyliners, also playing at home, held off Eisbären Bremerhaven 84-79, on the back of a 21-point display by small forward Shavon Shields. The third German team that competes in the BCL, EWE Baskets Oldenburg, commences its BBL campaign later this week.

The title defence of CEZ Nymburk in the Czech Kooperativa NBL could not have have started in a more convincing way, as the Czech champions enjoyed a 100-56 rout of USK Praha, with Allen Bryon scoring 18 points to spearhead the charge.

In the Latvian LKL, Ventpils coupled their wins in the new season in impressive fashion after cruising past Ogre/Kumho 101-70 on the road, as youngster Rihards Lomazs poured in 19 points to lead five Ventspils players in double digits.

In the Ukrainian Superliga, BC Khimik emerged victorious from the season opener by defeating Zaporizhia 96-83 on the road, thanks in great part to Ukrainian internationals Volodimir Koniev and Oleksandr Antipov scoring 16 points apiece.

Also on Sunday meanwhile, Avtodor Saratov were out-scored 24-14 by Astana in the final stretch and fell 83-78 in Kazakhstan, in what was their opening game in the VTB United League. Nicolas Minnerath 23 points and Branden Fraizer dished out nine assists to go with his 13 points in losing efforts for Avtodor.

Both Belgian teams that compete in the BCL sustained losses in their season openers of the EuroMillions Basket League on Saturday. Reigning champions BC Telenet Oostende succumbed to a 79-66 loss at Belfius Mons-Hainaut at home, despite a 12-point effort by Khalid Boukichou while Proximous Spirou Charleroi lost 91-68 to betFIRST Liege, also at home.

In the Lithuanian LKL, Neptunas suffered a third consecutive loss, 94-90 at Nevezis, following a fierce battle that went into overtime, in spite of a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double by Mindaugas Kačinas. Juventus Utena also lost, 85-76 to Lietkabelis at home, as a 19-point showing by Arminas Urbutis proved not enough to prevent their second defeat in three games.