Cholet Basket rode the hot hand of their new star Rodrigue Beaubois to an 80-74 home triumph over BC Kyiv on Wednesday and into the EuroChallenge Final Four.
The French outfit got 24 points from their sensational 21-year-old guard, who buried five three-pointers and carrried the team when BC Kyiv were threatening to pull off a big upset.
Beaubois has averaged 18.4 points over his last five games and in that scintillating run has made 20 of 31 shots from behind the arc.
|Kevin Braswell had 13 points to go with six rebounds and six assists for Cholet in the victory.|
Erman Kunter's Cholet will go up against BC Triumph, who clinched their place earlier in the day with a home win in the deciding third game over Ural Great.
Virtus will face Proteas in the other Semi-Final.
Cholet won Game 1 in France but were in danger of suffering an ignominious exit from the competition after blowing an 18-point advantage at Kyiv in Game 2 last week and losing that game 77-72.
They lost in the French league over the weekend at Le Mans and ran into a determined Kyiv side that is coached by former Serbia national team point guard Sasa Obradovic.
Artur Drozdov, the Ukraine international who spent six years in the French top flight with Pau Orthez, had 26 points. Thirteen of those came in the opening 11 minutes and 17 seconds.
The home fans had cause to worry when Manuchar Markoishvili and Denys Lukashov finished the second quarter by hitting consecutive three-pointers to give Kyiv a 39-38 lead.
Vyacheslav Kravtsov's lay-up to start the third quarter put them in front by three.
A Beaubois three-ball gave Cholet their first advantage of the second half at 44-43, only for Maksym Pustozvonov to hit right back with a shot from behind the arc for Kyiv.
Two Drozdov free throws increased the Kyiv lead to 48-44 before Cholet turned their game up a notch.
Beaubois drained another three, and teammate Antywane Robinson then struck with seven straight points. He sank another trey, scored on a lay-up off an alley-oop pass and then made a jump shot for a 54-48 advantage.
Kyiv refused to go away, though, with a Drozdov three-pointer closing the gap to 57-55 by the end of the quarter.
The contest then turned into a three-point shoot-out.
Following a Beaubois lay-up for the first basket of the final frame, Drozdov hit a three to trim the deficit to 59-58.
Thomas Larrouquis buried a shot from long range, only for Lukashov to reply with a three-ball to make it 62-61.
The last time the game was tied came with 5:03 to play after Oleg Saltovets scored for Kyiv to knot the contest at 68-68.
Kevin Braswell and Larrouquis were the next to score for a 72-68 Cholet advantage.
Kyiv did not give up.
The heroic Drozdov had a three-point play to make it 72-71 with 3:29 to go and after Beaubois made just one of two at the line, Kyiv had a chance to pull level.
Markoishvili drew a foul from Beaubois and went to the line but missed attempts.
With two minutes to go, Vincent Grier scored on a three-point play to make it 76-71.
Kyiv still had a chance to get closer by Saltovets missed a lay-up and Lukashov was off target from three-point land.
Larrouquis missed two free throws with 1:02 left, yet Markoishvili was again off the mark with a long-range shot for Kyiv.
Braswell added two free throws and Robinson a dunk for Cholet before Lukashov ended the scoring with a three-pointer right at the death for Kyiv.
Cholet, not unexpectedly, won the rebounding battle with the competition's king of the boards, Randal Falker, pulling down 11.
They had 38 rebounds overall compared to 26 for Kyiv.
Obradovic's team was 12 of 22 from long range with Drozdov four of five and both Lukashov and Markoishvili drilling three apiece.
Kyiv were just six of 12 from the free-throw line, however.
Cholet made 13 of 29 from behind the arc.
Sasa OBRADOVIC, Kyiv Head Coach:
"I am very satisfied with my players, and very proud about how we played. But like the first game here in Cholet rebounds made the difference. We need more experience to win this kind of game. We lost many American players during the EuroChallenge and we had to play with a new team, composed of young players. Congratulations to Cholet Basket. I think this team will have his chance on Final Four."
Maksym PUSTOZVONOV, Kyiv Player:
"The rebounds made the difference tonight. Cholet Basket was better. We played a good game in the second quarter but it was not enough to win this game. I am very sad that this story stop tonight."
Erman KUNTER, Cholet Head Coach:
"I am satisfied of this game but tonight Kiev gave us a lesson for the players, public and everybody. EuroChallenge is not Euroleague but there is also a good level with very good team like Kiev. Remember they won against some big teams like Galatasaray or Oldenburg. Tonight we have lost a masterpiece Nando DE COLO, who broke his nose. Some of my players like ROBINSON or BEAUBOIS have made the difference tonight. We will play against Moscow on our first game of Final Four. We used to play against East teams like ROSTOV, SUMY or KIEV. Now our goal is to play the final and to win this European competition."
Thomas LARROUQUIS, Cholet Player:
"We would like to play better tonight, but more important is the victory. We never gave up. It was easier for us to play this game at home and our fans helped us to win tonight. We were unlucky on shots and it was difficult for us to attack their zone defense. Now the more important is to win our first game against Moscow in the Final Four and go to the final."