BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Chester Simmons led Krasnye Krylia with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds|
EuroChallenge semi-finalists Krasnye Krylia will meet Spartak St. Petersburg in the Final of the Russian Cup on Wednesday, in Vladivostok.
Krasnye Krylia defeated Final Four hosts Spartak Primorye 73-63 in the second semi-final on Tuesday morning (in central Europe), in the big Russian city on the Pacific Ocean coast.
Spurred on by the local crowd, Spartak took an early 20-17 lead and things seemed to take a turn for the worst for Krasnye Krylia when point guard Aaron Miles got into foul trouble already at the start of the second quarter.
The Samara side head coach Sergey Bazarevich turned to 36-year-old DeJuan Collins, who joined the team in March and has had limited participation up to now.
The veteran guard responded to the challenge and Krasnye Krylia barely noticed the absence of Miles, a player who leads both the EuroChallenge and the VTB League in assists, the rest of the way.
Bazarevich's team pulled ahead at half-time, 31-35, and then outscored their hosts 23-15 in the third frame to enter the final quarter with a comfy cushion.
Small forward Chester Simmons, Samara's top scorer in all competitions, paved the way for the winners with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Power forward Andre Smith meanwhile finished with 19 points and seven rebounds and young Russian international Dmitry Kulagin chipped in with seven points and five rebounds.
"It's never easy to play against Spartak Primorye, especially in Vladivostok, so I'm very happy for the win," Bazarevich commented.
"We have carried out all the tasks we had set before the game, by involving more players in the first half and using a shorter rotation in the second.
"We now need to forget about this victory and recharge for the final."
St. Petersburg meanwhile reached the title game courtesy of a 70-63 victory over Enisey in the other semi-final.
Former Greek international Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the way for Spartak with 13 points and Latvian international Janis Strelnieks contributed 11.