Bilbao Beat Donetsk To Last Eurocup Place


Basket Bilbao beat BC Donetsk 90-79 in a thrilling encounter on Tuesday evening to book the final place on offer in the Eurocup.

The Basque team, 71-63 losers in the first leg of the Qualifying Round tie in Ukraine, prevailed 153-150 on aggregate.

The defeat means that Donetsk will play in the EuroChallenge.

As European club ties go, the second leg at the Bizkaia Arena would have made the fans for both clubs endure a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

Bilbao, behind 18 first-half points from Croatia international Marko Banic, stormed into a 53-31 lead at the break.

That gave them a 14-point advantage on aggregate.

BC Donetsk regrouped, though, and came out fighting in the second half.

A 7-0 run capped by Anthony Tucker's two free-throws cut the gap to 60-49.

Marque Perry and Haywood Owens drilled three-pointers to reduce the arrears to 65-60 at the end of the third quarter, putting Donetsk back in front over the two legs.

The contest remained close in the fourth quarter but Donetsk began to look as if they would win the tie with 3:15 to go when two Perry free-throws cut Bilbao's advantage to 73-71 in the second leg.

Spain international Alex Mumbru followed with a three-point play, though, and after Tucker replied with a jump shot for Donetsk, Levour Warren connected from behind the arc for Bilbao to give the hosts a 79-73 lead with 1:55 to go.

Another Mumbru three-point play with 40 seconds to play made it 82-74 just 40 seconds from the end.

Donetsk called a timeout and when play resumed, committed one of their 17 turnovers in the game.

Banic immediately punished them with a jump shot for an 84-74 lead.

Javier Salgado fouled Perry with 15 seconds left and the American made just the second of two free-throws to leave Bilbao still on top on aggregate by one at 84-75.

Banic made two free-throws and Salgado sank four more over the final 13 seconds to seal the win for Bilbao.

Warren finished with 17 points for Bilbao while Perry had 26 for Donetsk.

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