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KRKA Survive In Tense Finish To Advance

30 March 2011
EuroChallenge

11. Devin Green (Lukoil Academic)
Devin Green of Lukoil Akademic led all scorers with 20 points on 70% shooting from the floor, but it was KRKA who earned  a spot in the Final Four

KRKA Novo Mesto clinched a 71-69 victory over Lukoil Academic on Wednesday evening to earn a place at the EuroChallenge Final Four.

The Bulgarian side, which had won Game 1 in Slovenia but then slipped to defeat in Game 2 back in Sofia, led for much of the decider but finished just short of the competition's gala event.

Brandon Heath missed a potential game-winning three-pointer in the waning seconds for the visitors.

KRKA have joined Spartak Saint-Petersburg and Lokomotiv Kuban in the Final Four, with those two sides advancing after their respective 2-0 sweeps of Pinar Karsiyaka and BCM Gravelines.

Goran Ikonic led KRKA with 17 points while Chris Booker had a game-high 11 boards to go with his eight points.

Lukoil got a strong performance from Devin Green, who had 11 points by half-time and 18 at the end of the third quarter.

It was late in the penultimate frame when Lukoil had a 48-42 advantage.

Jovica Arsic's team was still on top 61-56 midway through the fourth quarter when they lost the initiative.

Chris Booker made a go-ahead lay-up and Jure Balazic followed with a basket for a 66-63 advantage.

Twice in the last minute, Lukoil trimmed the deficit to just one but KRKA kept their noses in front.

Lukoil hurt their cause with poor free-throw shooting, making a mere 13 of 23.

KRKA won the rebounding battle, 39-28.

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