Krasnye Krylia became the first team to punch their ticket for the EuroChallenge 2010 Final after grinding out a hard fought 73-70 win against an injury-hit but gutsy Scavolini Spar Pesaro.
|Marcus Douthit was a beast inside and finished with a double double and some spectacular scenes|
The Redwings continue to fly high after once again relying on their defence and experience to progress (watch highlight video here).
Guard Ernest Bremer pulled the strings to great effect and recorded 18 points and 4 assists while Marcus Douthit claimed a sparkling double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
A flurry of triples from veteran Ralph Biggs (watch his postgame reaction here) also helped ease the load on key scorer Luis Flores who finished with 15 but it was arguably the all-round game of Evgeny Voronov that proved a real factor.
His aggressive approach at both ends of the floor from tip to buzzer was excellent and his cameo was important, particularly two memorable blocks which set the tone for the mean Samara defence.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Pesaro without the influential Tomassini, Cinciarini and the concerns over the critically ill Dusan Sakota.
To their credit, the Italian side showed the kind of heart you have just got to love and even had a chance to force overtime but Branko Cvetokovic was crowded out when pulling the trigger from the wing.
Krasnye Krylia always looked the slightly more assured team and enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.
|Branko Cvetkovic did all he possibly could but came up short with his team|
They moved into an eight point lead but they lost their concentration in the second quarter and by the interval, Pesaro had levelled the scores at 34-34 with both teams lighting it up from the perimeter.
With Michael Hicks-Taylor looking dangerous and the class of Cvetkovic always likely to be an issue, lying down was never an option for the Italian team.
Even when a triple by Flores handed them a ten point deficit at 69-59 in the final quarter, they dug deep and almost left the Russian side stunned.
The game had looked all but done and yet they came storming out of a time-out and embarked on a super 11-2 run to set up a nerve racking finale in the closing seconds.
Unfortunately for fans of Pesaro, Luis Flores once again showed he has ice running through his veins when placed on the line.
He buried both free-throws to seal the game and finally see off a plucky effort by the depleted Scavolini Spar Pesaro.