Epic Comeback Triumph Crowns Samara

28.04.2013

EUROCHALLENGE FINAL FOUR

8. Lamayn Wilson (Krasnye Krylia)
Lamayn Wilson hit the decisive free throw to seal the final result, 77-76

TURNING POINT: With his team trailing Karsiyaka by 17 points 6:53 from the end of the third quarter, Chester Simmons picked up a ball on the right wing and reduced the gap to 53-39; on the next possession, he made a gesture of defiance to his team-mates and they cleared out as he hit another three to bring the difference down to 11 and kick-start the Samara fightback.

GAME HERO: DeJuan Collins passed almost unnoticed in the first half, as he stayed on the court for five minutes and had one point; in the heat of the decisive third and fourth quarters though, the 36-year-old could do no wrong as he led his team to their improbable comeback.

STATS DON'T LIE: Krasnye Krylia shot the ball slightly worse than Karsiyaka, but took 16 offensive rebounds to their hosts' 9, scoring 16 crucial second-chance points to stay alive when all seemed lost.

Krasnye Krylia Samara completed a comeback for the ages on Sunday night to edge out EuroChallenge Final Four hosts Pinar Karsiyaka 77-76 in the title game and be crowned as the 2013 champions.

The final buzzer silenced a sizzling-hot 5,000-strong home crowd in Karsiyaka Arena for the first time on the day and inflicted a sense of loss on the entire Turkish city of Izmir.

The hosts, who were leading by 17 points in the third quarter, had somehow found themselves on the wrong end of a too dramatic to comprehend turn of events.

FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak hanging the gold medal around Lamayn Wilsons neck
FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak hanging the gold medal around Lamayn Wilsons neck

But, as unlikely as it might had looked just a few minutes previously, Krasnye Krylia's success was a triumph of their never-say-die mentality and it came about in an epic fashion that only the sport of basketball can offer.

Karsiyaka dominated proceedings at the start and led by as many as six points until Krasnye Krylia forced their hosts to go two minutes without a basket early in the second quarter and pulled even, 23-23.

But then winger Maxim Mutaf, first with an and-one play and then a long-range three-pointer, spurred a frenetic 23-11 run for the Turkish team that would seem reach the interval leading 46-34, to the absolute delight of the jubilant local crowd.

They had not stopped cheering on their team even for a second and had every reason to pump up the volume as William Thomas received the ball in the low post, spinned and scored as he was being fouled by Nikita Balashov; his free throw made it 53-36 and on the other end of the floor Abdul Aminu forced a Krasnye Krylia turnover.

There were still eight minutes to play in the third quarter alone, but the Russian side seemed now to be completely out of ideas, well and truly beaten.

Except they weren't.

Following the two defiant consecutive three-pointers by Final Four MVP Chester Simmons, Aaron Miles sliced the Turkish defence and made it 52-44 with a floating lay-up; he repeated a similar move after Karsiyaka had scored from the free-throw line, to make it 54-46.

Andre Smith made it 54-48 from the low post and then Samara stole the ball for Lamayn Wilson to dunk in transition on a Miles assist, 54-50.

On the last possession in the quarter, DeJuan Collins run the clock down and rose from seven meters out to bury a three right at the buzzer, 55-54.

Krasnye Krylia were still trailing by one point, but they had now come back from the dead.

23. Maxim Mutaf (Pinar Karsiyaka)
Maxim Mutaf finished the game with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field

Karsiyaka's guardian angel emerged once again from the bench, as Mutaf hit a big three from seven meters out and then intercepted a Collins pass to dart down the floor and make it 60-54 with a dunk.

The Russians tied the scores, for the first time since the start of the second quarter, on a Collins three, 71-71.

A Dixon jumper gave the hosts some breathing space but Collins split the Karsiyaka defence and assisted Wilson under the basket, 73-73.

Once again Collins ran down the clock, and with three seconds left and two hands in his face, he sunk a huge shot from eight meters out, to give his team the first lead in about 35 minutes, 76-73, with 1:01 left to the final buzzer.

Dixon replied with a similarly huge shot to tie it at 76 and Wilson was fouled on a lay-up attempt.

With the local crowd cheering their lungs out, he still managed to hit one of his free throws and make it 77-76, 12 seconds from the final buzzer.

Karsiyaka called their last time out and Jon Diebler took the baseline but found the way to the basket blocked and his shot dropped out for Wilson to grab the rebound and initiate the celebrations on the Samara bench.

Krasnye Krylia have become only the second team in history, after fellow Russian side Dynamo St. Petersburg in 2005, to win the competition undefeated.

 


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