Evans leads Ludwigsburg past Neptunas, PAOK off the mark

MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg scored 50 points in the first half alone to set up a 95-83 victory over Neptunas Klaipeda in the Basketball Champions League.

Dwayne Evans top scored in the match with 19 points as one of five Ludwigsburg players to reach double figures, followed by Adika Peter-McNeilly (15) and Justin Sears (14), as Neptunas lost for the first time this season.

"It was a hard-fought win," Ludwigsburg's head coach John Patrick said after watching his team record a victory that saw them move top of Group B.

"It was a very physical game; it was also last year when we played against Neptunas. They're one of the most physical teams in Europe, that's what they're known for.

"We had a good first half, played good defence but we lost our concentration a little bit in the second half and Neptunas came back. 

"Hopefully we can learn from this; how to protect the lead better, but in the end we hit some big shots and it's important for us, we're 2-1 now in the Champions League and in a good position." 

Ventspils are third in the group after beating Elan Chalon 78-77, winning by a single point for the second consecutive home game thanks in no small part to Latvia international Aigars Skele, who supplied 16 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.  

PAOK, meanwhile, held off bottom side SikeliArchivi Capo d'Orlando 63-58 for their first victory of the campaign.

In Group C, AEK remain winless after a late slump allowed second-placed Banvit to open up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter before securing a 74-70 triumph. Umana Reyer Venezia top the group following an 81-71 success over Rosa Radom.

Elsewhere, AS Monaco top Group A thanks to an 89-73 victory over Enisey Krasnoyarsk.

And in Group D, leaders Besiktas Sompo Japan won 65-60 against Stelmet Zielona Gora and second-placed CEZ Nymburk edged Telekom Baskets Bonn 89-87.

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