By Yarone Arbel
The big Semi-Finals night sent for the first time in the EuroChallenge history a team from Germany to the title game, with a chance to become only the third German team to win a European title, after BG Gottingen used a huge second half to eliminate Basket Roanne.
Krasnye Krylia became the first team out of Russia to reach the gold medal game since 2006 but has a chance to bring a second European title to the city of Samara after the Eurocup Challenge trophy from 2007.
The two Semi-Finals displayed a lot of exciting moments and figures that can be found in the 1st edition of the 2010 Final Four by the numbers.
|It was another big night for Taylor Rochestie of BG Göttingen.|
27: US guard Taylor Rochenstie of Gottingen earned his mention here by stepping up at the perfect time for his team to write back-to-back season highs in points in the Quarter-Finals with 24 and 25 points. If some of you thought he made his mark and reached the top of his game, you were wrong. Rochenstie set yet another season high, this time with 27 points with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. He was responsible for 14 points, more than half of his points, in the 3rd quarter when his team scored 29 to take over the game.
1st run: After 21 minutes the hosts found themselves in a very uncomfortable 28-43 lag, but then came their first significant run by outscoring Roanne 13-4 to cut the margin to six. In that run Gottingen didn't miss a single shot nor committed a single turnover in a span of four minutes.
8 and 9: The best team performance in block shots was back in early December when BC Donetsk stopped legally 11 shots before reaching the rim, and no other team came even close to that until the Semi-Finals night. In the first game Krylia reached the 2nd spot in the list and tied a EuroChallenge Final Four record set by Dynamo St. Petersburg in 2006 with eight blocks against zero for Scavolini Spar Pesaro. The last two of them came in the last secen seconds of the game and secured the win. Not too far after Roanne bettered that display in the second semi's with no less than nine blocks against zero for BG Gottingen, but that was enough only for the record books.
2nd run: For a couple of minutes it seemed as Roanne recovered, and resumed protecting the lead, but then came the last 3:39 of the quarter that put a totally different face to the game. Gottingen wrote another run, this time 12-0, to summarize the third quarter score on 29-10 and take over the match. While in the first run it was a perfect offensive display, this time there were missed shots and turnovers made by the locals yet the defensive effort stood out. Roanne committed three turnovers and missed three shots to make a run that seemed decisive, but turned out to be just the 2nd.
8 to tie: Scavolini's Marques Green had one of his least active nights as far as shooting when he reached only four points and even more worrying in only six attempts from the field, which stand out against his 10.8 ppg in 9.1 shots from the field starting the Last 16 phase. Yet the experienced guard sensed his scoring passiveness and focused on his passing skills, dishing a 2010 Final Four high of eight assists, tied with his season highs. Green bestowed two assists in each of the four quarters, including a couple in Scavolini's last effort run, that was just almost enough for a shocking finish.
3's and 1's: Krylia's Ralph Biggs had a very unique night as far as the figures 1 and 3. Biggs scored one shots inside the arc added one assist, one steal, one block and 11 points while writing three hits from downtown, three rebounds, three fouls and three turnovers. His wrote his 1 block in the final second to secure a three points win to cap a special night.
3rd run: Despite losing the lead, and fighting the locals' momentum in front of their 3,000 fans Roanne Basket found the energy and character to take over the game just once more. This time the French side wrote a 14-3 run to enter the last six minutes leading 66-60 yet that's when things jammed for them. Until the final buzzer Roanne scored only one single point more, and ended up losing by 10. Roanne made no less than seven turnovers in that period, and in addition to additional seven in the previous quarter tied in the 2nd half the total number of turnovers made by Gottingen in the whole game. Coach Jean Denys Choulet used only seven players but four of them had four turnovers or more.
14+10+3: During the quarters Marcus Douthit of Kralia was declared as the best mid-season signing in the EuroChallenge, and in the big semi's night he gave another justification to the unofficial title. The New York born center wrote his 7th game in a row in double-digits and wrote a the only Final Four double-double performance so far with 14 points and 10 rebounds in addition to three blocks, including one in the last seconds to stop Scavolini behind.
14: There are two ways to lose the ball. The more preferable option is to a situation where the ball is dead, let's say with traveling or a pass that goes out of bounds. You have time to set your defense and be ready for the counter attack. Yet when you lose it on a bad pass or ball handling, the opponent writes a steal with a chance for easy points in a fast break. Gottingen had 14 steals in the game, good enough to tie the 2nd best team performance in the entire season, but the timing was also important. Five of those steals, more than a third, came during the last six minutes of the game, when the hosts made their big and decisive run. This labeled all of Roanne's turnovers to the worst kind. Gottingen created seven points of the 17-1 run thanks to those steals.
4 of 4 in 4: Scavolini's run to the gold was finished but they can go home proud after showing great heard before dropping the Semi-Finals. The most magical moment was in the last 3:20 minutes when the Italians were down by 10, 69-59, and it seemed like a done deal. Then came a great team effort and for a bit less than three minutes almost everything connected. Micheal Hicks scored from the arc on an assist by Sam Van Rossom, then the Belgium guard scored on the perimeter off an assist by Green, then Van Rossom went back to passing and dished a big one for a another three pointer this time by Branko Cvetkovic only to see another bucket by Cvetkovic. A big 11-2 that cut the margin to just a single point with 30 second to play, but not more than that. Four field goals in four attempts behind four assists leave a sweet taste in Scavolini's bitter loss.