Marcus Williams had 7 points and a game-high 10 assists leading #7 Crvena Zvezda to a 86-69 Top 16 victory over Niels Giffey and #5 ALBA Berlin. Giffey, battling foul trouble, added 3 points and 3 rebounds for the German club. In typical fashion, many of Williams dimes were of the highlight variety, including a pair of nifty no-looks:
With the win, #7 Crvena moves out of last place and ALBA falls into a tie for #5. Both clubs qualified for the Top 16 with impressive EuroLeague regular seasons but have struggled thus far. The Top 16 divides qualifying clubs from the regular season into two Groups -E and F- for a 14 game round-robin season. In order to advance to the next round of play, ALBA and Crvena must finish among the top four seeds in Group E. The two will rematch at the end of March, in a game that could decide postseason fate.
It was a big week for Williams across the board as his 19 point/6 assist effort led #1 Crvena to a thrilling 1 point victory over #2 Buducnost (Montenegro) in the Adriatic League. The game featured two former elite Big East point guards as Williams faced off against Omar Cook of St. John’s. See highlights below:
One tier down, in EuroCup play, it was Jerome Dyson’s turn to beat up on Cook, as his 11 points/7 assists helped Sassari move into #2 in Group H with a win over Buducnost. Remember, clubs play in multiple leagues so there is much crossover, especially during the postseason.
In Italian Series A play, Dyson’s 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists kept Sassari at #4 with just over 10 games remaining.
In Group M play, Hilton Armstrong and Besiktas (Turkey) moved to #2 with a victory over Neptunas (Lithuania). Through three quarters, Armstrong had 8 points/5 rebounds/3 blocks before leaving the game with an ankle injury. He is expected to miss only a week. Besiktas also announced the signing of former Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds.
Both clubs return to action next week needing a win to advance to the next stage, the EuroCup Final Eight.
This is what happens when 6’10 Italian center Tomas Ress tries to jump with Jerome Dyson:
Dyson has been on absolute fire the last 5 games in Italian Series A League play averaging a ridiculous 26.2 points, 6.6 assists, 6 rebounds and 2.5 steals for #2 Banco Di Sardegna. Sassari competes in both the Italian Series A League (national) as well as the EuroCup (regional). The club also competed in the Euroleague (Euro NBA, think Niels Giffey/Marcus Williams) earlier in the season but failed to reach the Top 16. They were booted into the Top 32 of the EuroCup (one level down) to play for a chance at the EuroCup crown and an automatic bid back to the Euroleague for next season. Essentially, the EuroCup (and lesser regional leagues) is a chance for clubs without the necessary accolades to qualify for Euroleague play automatically, similar to how conference tournament’s work with March Madness. European clubs rely heavily on sponsors who rely heavily on exposure, better leagues = more exposure = more money = better players.
To gauge the scope of the EuroCup, here is a map of all participating clubs (minus late additions):
Dyson is having a career year for Sassari with his 18.5 points per game, 4.8 assists per game and 2.3 steals per game good for 4th, 4th and 1st respectively in Series A play. On January 11th, Dyson dropped 30 points (6-10, 3P), dished out 8 assists and added 4 steals. In fact, his DEEP 3’s in the last two minutes led Sassari to the come-from-behind victory. Follow the link below for highlights (shots come at 2 minute mark):
Sassari returns to action January 20th when they battle Buducnost (Montenegro) in EuroCup play. The matchup pits Dyson against former Big East standout Omar Cook (St. John’s). Dyson and his squad will need to finish in the top two of Group H to advance to the Final Eight – they currently sit at 3rd with a record of 1-1. Other Group H members include Buducnost, Canaria (Spain), and Banvit (Turkey).
We always knew Dyson could make plays like this…
…now he is making winning plays.