Estonians Tartu Rock enjoyed their finest moment of the season and one of the greatest in club history on Tuesday by coming from behind at home to beat Ural Great 89-77 and reach the EuroCup Final Four.
One of the real surprise packages all season, Rock are now two wins away from lifting a major European trophy.
Trailing 64-53 with 1:15 to go in the third quarter after a three-pointer by Ural Great's excellent Vanja Plisnic, Üllar Kerde's men reeled off 16 straight points to take the lead for good.
|George Tsintsadze led his team to victory on the night and the Final Four|
Rock's George Tsintsadze poured in a season-high 25 points, a display which included a perfect 10 of 10 at the free throw line, to lead the winners.
Rock have put together some big scoring spurts this season but none have been as important as the one that came after Plisnic's three-ball had given the visitors an 11-point lead with 11:15 to go in the game.
Vallo Allingu went in for a lay-up and Marek Doronin followed with a three-pointer to spark the run.
After no points went on the board in the first minute of the fourth quarter, emerging Georgia international Tsintsadze went in for another lay-up before Estonia national team veteran Gert Kullamäe struck from behind the arc for his first points of the game.
Tsintsadze added two free throws before Brian Cusworth and Janar Talts followed with back-to-back dunks to give Rock a 69-64 advantage with 6:13 remaining in the contest.
Ural Great twice cut the deficit to three points but got no closer.
Rookie Cusworth, the late bloomer who played college basketball at Harvard where he was a pre-med student, had 12 points and nine rebounds.
Earlier in the day Cusworth was named as the leading vote-getter by fans for the EuroCup All Star Game in Cyprus, later this month.
Tanel Tein had 15 points and six assists and Talts scored 13 for Rock.
Ural Great did not advance, but they deserve many of the plaudits after forcing the deciding third game of the quarter-final with last Friday's 78-75 win in Perm.
The club had lost their coach, Drazen Anzulovic, on the eve the quarter-finals when he left to coach Charleroi in Belgium.
Wright led the Ural Great scorers with 18 points.
Üllar Kerde, coach Tartu Rock:
"We prepared well for this important match and I believed in all the players and believed in victory. Our team always plays well and with emotion and today we could find it on the court."
Gert Kullamäe, player of Tartu Rock:
"The match was tight and hard as we knew it would be. The whole team would like to thank our fans, who believed in us and helped us to get back in the game when we fell behind twice, by some margin. I felt myself so good in the end that I even missed two free throws in the last minute."
Roman Dvinyaninov, coach Ural Great:
"We couldn't find our game in the fourth quarter. All the bad things for us started to happen in the end and we couldn't find a key to get back into the game. The opponent had discipline and our players believed too much on their individual skills."