April 10, 2015 / 9:55 PM / 4 years ago

Real pip Barca at the top of Euroleague group

BELGRADE, (Reuters) - Real Madrid ended the Euroleague’s second group stage with a 99-83 win over Zalgiris Kaunas on Friday to clinch top spot in their section and book a best-of-five quarter-final against Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

Rivals Barcelona finished second in Group E after an 88-65 victory at Galatasaray earned a clash with triple former winners Olympiakos Piraeus, the third-placed team in Group F.

In the other two ties, holders Maccabi Tel Aviv face Fenerbahce while six-times winners CSKA Moscow take on Panathinaikos.

The winners advance to the May 15-17 Final Four in Madrid.

Real, record eight-times champions of Europe’s premier club competition, made sure they avoided a meeting with Olympiakos by sweeping past Lithuanians Zalgiris with a strong second half after trailing 43-40 at the interval.

Centre Felipe Reyes claimed 17 points while guards Sergio Rodriguez and Jaycee Carroll scored 16 points apiece for the hosts who finished with 11 wins and three defeats.

Barcelona also ended with 11 victories and three losses but had an inferior head-to-head record.

Barca had put pressure on Real by blowing away Galatasaray in an empty arena following the Turkish side’s ban after crowd trouble in last month’s game at Alba Berlin.

Croatia center Ante Tomic continued a good run of form with 20 points for the Catalan giants, nailing nine of 10 shots from the floor and two of three from the foul line.

In the day’s early fixture, Olympiakos labored to a 77-70 home win over Russians Nizhny Novgorod thanks to 17 points from forward Matt Lojeski.

The quarter-finals start on Tuesday and finish on April 28 with Real, Barcelona, CSKA and Fenerbahce enjoying home-court advantage.

Editing by Tony Jimenez

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