Russian team Dynamo Moscow Region cruised into their FIBA Europe Cup Pan-European play-offs with a polished showing at the Conference North Final Four.
With the home court advantage in their favour, Dynamo held off Russian rivals EURAS Ekaterinburg in the semis (100-79) and were never in danger as they strolled to a 91-86 victory against Lokomotiv Rostov in the final.
Dynamo boasts one of the most experienced rosters in the competition, including players such as Nikita Morgunov (RUS), Chuck Kornegay (ESP) and Valeri Dayneko (BLR), all of whom have national team experience.
|Dynamo's Nikita Morgunov|
Having made the FIBA Europe Cup Final Four last season, Dynamo may well be the title favourites in 2005.
Meanwhile in the Conference Central and West Final Four in Fribourg (SUI), Czech side Mlekarna Kunin emerged as the strongest team.
After eking out a tough 96-93 win over Albacomp in the semi-finals, Mlekarna Kunin had little trouble disposing of Boncourt in the final, 105-77.
Frederick Warrick has shown the ability in the FIBA Europe Cup to ratchet his game up a notch when neccesary. The 197 cm forward had 39 points against Danish side Bakken in the Conference play-offs and against Boncourt he was just as dangerous, finishing with a game high 30 points.
Kenneth Younger provided a similar threat for Albacomp. He contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds in his side's narrow loss to Mlekarna Kunin, and his 26 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists spearheaded an easy 108-71 victory over Fribourg in the third-placed game.
Romanian outfit CSU Assesoft narrowly failed in their task of winning Conference South on home soil. They defeated Cypriot opponents Apollon Limassol in the semis, but could not overcome Turkish team Banvit in the final.
CSU Assesoft were without team captain Antonio Alexe who recently died in a tragic car accident, and despite a fourth quarter comeback attempt, fell short against Banvit, 71-68.