|10 February 2014|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
During a weekend replete with cup action around Europe new winners have been crowned in several countries, including Italy, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Poland and Ukraine.
|Travis Diener was named MVP of the Italian Cup Beko Final Eight|
ITALY - HISTORICAL CUP FOR SASSARI
Banco di Sardegna Dinamo Sassari sprung one of the biggest surprises anywhere in Europe at the weekend, by winning the Italian Cup Beko Final Eight for the first time in their history.
Sassari knocked out EA7 Emporio Armani Milano, the hot favourites and hosts of the tournament in the quarter-finals and then they beat Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The Sardinian side however were still saving the best for last, as they crossed paths with the reigning champions, five-time cup winners Montepaschi Siena in the final.
Using a hard-nosed defence, Sassari grabbed a 17-point lead by the half-time break, 45-28, which they managed to hold on to despite Siena's comeback attempt in the second half and clinch an 80-73 triumph.
Caleb Green went 4-of-7 from three-point range and finished with a team-high 18 points and added seven rebounds, while point guard Travis Diener contributed an all-round display of 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists and was named MVP of the competition.
"The important step was beating Milano, it gave us confidence to play and win this game [with Siena] in the way we did it," Sassari head coach Romeo Sacchetti said afterwards.
"Basketball is a beautiful game and all this time we were hearing compliments for playing an attractive game which fans like, but really, we were getting annoyed of receiving the pats on the back and not winning anything."
|Robert Dixon paved the way for Karsiyaka, collecting 19 points, five rebounds and six assists in the final |
TURKEY - KARSIYAKA FINALLY GET THEIR CUP
Robert Dixon drew a foul from Zoran Planinic with less than a second remaining on the clock and made the first of his two free throws to give Pinar Karsiyaka a 66-65 win over Anadolu Efes and their first ever Spor Toto Turkish Cup on Sunday.
Earlier, Planinic had been fouled while he was attempting a triple and sunk all three free throws to tie the scores at 65 in the big title game of the Final 8 in Ankara.
Even if it were not for his game-winner, Dixon's display would still have been key for Karsiyaka as he finished with a game-high 19 points, five rebounds and six assists and was named MVP of the Spor Toto cup.
Big man Esteban Batista also made an important contribution for the winners, with 14 points and five rebounds.
Planicic collected 17 points and six assists for Efes in a losing effort.
"We didn't expect it to be easy, it was the third game in a row and we have been here [in Ankara] for six days now," Karsiyaka head coach Ufuk Sarica said.
"But we believed in it until the last second, we are the last team standing and we're going back with a trophy that is very important to us, to the club, to our fans and the city.
"I feel a great pride and great happiness right now."
In order to reach the final, Karsiyaka knocked out tournament hosts TED Ankara in the quarter-finals and then claimed the biggest scalp in the semi-finals, by defeating cup holders and favourites Fenerbahce 82-73 behind a 15-point display from Baris Hersek.
GREECE - 15 AND COUNTING FOR PANATHINAIKOS
Panathinaikos defeated Aris Thessaloniki 90-53 in the single-game final of the Greek Cup on Sunday and conquered the trophy for the 15th time in their history.
The two teams were tied at 40 at the half-time break but Panathinaikos were so domintant in the third quarter that they outscored their opponents 35-7 in that period.
Ramel Curry paved the way for the winners with 17 points, Jonas Maciulis added 13 points and Antonis Fotsis chipped in with 11.
Greek international Vasileios Charalampopoulos, who just turned 17 in January, was on the Panathinaikos squad and became the youngest ever player to step on the court in a final.
"Charalampopoulos is 17 and playimg maturely beyond his years," Panathinaikos coach Argyris Pedoulakis commented afterwards.
"It is important for him that every day he goes up against senior players and can learn from his mistakes.
"Aris also have some very talented young players and the important thing for all these youngsters is to steer clear of the star system and just keep on working humbly."
|Serbian international Rasko Katic led the scoring in the final with 21 points |
SERBIA - RED STAR DEFEND TITLE
Red Star Belgrade had to dig deep and come back from a 15-point deficit but managed to edge out Mega Vizura 81-80 in the final of the Serbian Radivoj Korac Cup on Sunday and retain the trophy.
Big man Rasko Katic was paramount to the success of Crvena Zvezda as he picked up a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Charles Jenkins chipped in with 20 points.
"We had been under enormous pressure since the start of the competition and this led to us starting the game badly and Mega Vizura, who were relaxed and with a great desire to win, took the big lead in the first half," said Red Star head coach Dejan Radonjic.
"We reacted well, despite having to chase a big deficit, which was not easy to endure physically, because of our enormous motivation.
"We were able to deal with everything because we know that this cup is the trophy with the highest value in the country."
UKRAINE - CUP GLORY FOR BUDIVELNIK
Budivelnyk Kyiv have won two of the last three Ukrainian league titles but had not stepped on the top of the podium in the domestic Cup since 2009.
The Kyiv side set that right on Sunday by defeating Donetsk 96-88 in the final and conquering the Cup trophy for the second time in their history.
DaJuan Summers paved the way for Budivelnyk with 25 points on 10-of-15 from the floor while Lithuanian international Darjus Lavrinovic collected 15 points and six rebounds in an all-round showing that earned him MVP honours.
POLAND - GABINKSI PROPELS WROCLAW TO TITLE
Slask Wroclaw prevailed 90-87 over PGE Turów Zgorzelec in the final of the Polish Intermarché Basket Cup on Sunday to win the trophy for the first time since 2005.
Michal Gabinski came up with big plays in the clutch to tip the balance in Wroclaw's favour, finished with a game-high 21 points and was named MVP of the final.
Robert Skibniewski and Paul Miller, with 14 points apiece, also turned in significant performances for the winners in a clash were five players on each team scored in double digits.
"We are very happy for the title and we hope that this success of our team will help towards the development of basketball in Wroclaw," Gabinski said afterwards.