|13 February 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
February is traditionally a month reserved to national cup competitions around most of Europe and several of the coveted trophies have already met their rightful owners for this season.
|Kevin Payton had 15 points to help Xion Dukes clinch the Austrian Cup |
AUSTRIA - Xion Dukes, a side that had participated in the EuroChallenge Qualifying Round, prevailed 72-59 over BC Vienna in the final to lift the trophy. Damir Zeleznik and Kevin Payton, with 15 points apiece, led the balanced Dukes offence.
CROATIA - Cibona outlasted Cedevita Zagreb 77-76 in the tense final of a cup competition named after late Croatian legend Kresimir Cosic. 33-year-old former international Andrija Zizic and American guard D.J. Strawberry were the pillars of Cibona's triumph, with 21 points each.
CZECH REPUBLIC - Nymburk continue dominating Czech basketball with an iron fist but had to work hard to add one more domestic cup title to their trophy case. They edged out gutsy Pardubice 87-83, thanks in great part to a fantastic performance by Slovak international Radoslav Rancik, who led all scorers with 23 points and added six rebounds.
FINLAND - Tampereen Pyrintö, who played in the Regular Season of the EuroChallenge, defeated reigning league champions Bisons 78-73. Forward Lamonte Ulmer came up with a big performance for the winners with a game-high 21 points and 14 rebounds while Damon Williams also collected a double-double, 16 points and 10 rebounds.
GREECE - Panathinaikos edged out their eternal rivals Olympiacos 81-78 in the final and conquered their 14th Greek Cup title, behind big performances by two top European players. Dimitris Diamantidis led the Greens with 19 points and seven assists, while Croatian Roko Leni Ukic added 18 points and four rebounds.
ISRAEL - Maccabi Tel Aviv added a 40th Israeli cup title to their already oversized trophy case following a 76-68 win over Maccabi Haifa in the final. Ricky Hickman led the charged for the Euroleague powerhouse with 15 points, while Israeli international Yogev Ohayon had 12 points for David Blatt's team.
ITALY - Montepaschi Siena defended their Coppa Italia title successfully with a 77-74 victory over Cimberio Varese in the final of the BEKO Final Eight. Bobby Brown led the winners with a 25-point display in the final, while Italian international Daniel Hackett, who had 17 points in the final, was the hero of Saturday's semi-final. The guard poured in 19 points, 12 of them in the final quarter, when he shot 100 percent from the field, to help Siena come back and defeat Banco di Sardegna Sassari 85-78.
MONTENEGRO - Modest Sutjeska stunned favourites Buducnost Podgorica with a 64-55 win in the final, to deny the club from the capital a domestic cup title for the first time since the country's independence. Big part of the credit for the achievement goes to guard Marko Calic, who led the winners with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.
POLAND - Trefl Sopot held off surprise package AZS Koszalin 64-59 in the final of the Intermarche Basket Cup final to conquer the title, behind solid performances by Frank Turner and Adam Waczynski, who had 18 and 15 points respectively and eight rebounds each for the winners. Koszalin, the hosts of the Final Four, had stunned favourites Asseco Prokom Gdynia 82-75 to reach the big final.
SERBIA - Red Star Belgrade overpowered arch rivals Partizan 78-69 to reclaim the Serbian Cup title after six years, in a game that was marred by disturbances in the stands. Forward Mike Scott finished with 20 points and seven rebounds to claim MVP honours, but it was former Serbia international Igor Rakocevic who turned back the clock, with a majestic 20-point, 5-assist display.
|Dino Muric was named MVP of the Slovenian Cup Final Eight after leading Union Olimpija to the title |
SLOVENIA - Union Olimpija Ljubljana started pulling away from Helios in the second quarter of the Final Eight and cruised to a 73-61 win to conquer their 19th domestic Cup title. Forward Dino Muric, who is on Slovenia's preliminary squad for the EuroBasket, was named the MVP, after leading all scorers in the final with 16 points, while shooting guard Jaka Blazic added 11 points and six rebounds.
SPAIN - Barcelona Regal dominated Valencia Basket 85-69 in the big final of the Copa del Rey in Vitoria and reclaimed the title they had lost to their arch rivals Real Madrid at home last year. To reach the final, the Catalans prevailed over Madrid 111-108 in a memorable quarter-final clash that went into double overtime, and then dispatched hosts Caja Laboral 80-69 in the semi-final. The 2013 edition of the Copa del Rey established a new record, registering an accumulated attendance of 100,250 spectators over three days in Buesa Arena.
TURKEY - Fenerbahce head coach Simone Pianigiani was rushed to hospital with a sudden illness just hours before the start of the Turkish Spor Toto Cup quarter-finals, but his players responded to the adversity in the best possible way. Fener defeated arch rivals Galatasary 63-57 in the final to conquer their third domestic cup title in the last four years, behind 21 points from David Andersen and 14 points from Turkish international Oguz Savas. To reach the final, Fener knocked out Besiktas, 75-66, in the semi-final and had prevailed over EuroChallenge side Pinar Karsiyaka in the quarter-final.