|14 March 2014|
|Dejan Borovnjak delivered his best performance od the season to lift Gaziantep into the Final Four|
Dejan Borovnjak delivered the best performance of his EuroChallenge career at Tsmoki Minsk on Thursday and capped it off with two free throws at the death which sealed Royal Hali Gaziantep's place in the Final Four.
Gaziantep were trailing their hosts 67-66 in Game 2 of their play-off series and had only 2.7 seconds for their last possession.
Borovnjak received inside the inbound-pass with his back to Minsk's Aliaksei Lashkevich, put the ball on the floor and with a quick spin he gained enough space to attempt firing the last shot in the game, but instead was fouled just as the final buzzer was sounding.
The 28-year-old Serbian big man walked calmly to the line as both sets of players and every fan at Minsk arena were holding their breath and sunk both shots to gift his team a 68-67 win and the ticket to the EuroChallenge Final Four.
It was a fittingly triumphant finish for a player who had come up with an enormous double-double display on the night, registering an efficiency index rating of 31, which is the highest not only in Game 2 of the quarter-finals but also in the 2014 EuroChallenge play-offs in general (pending next week's Game 3 between Tartu Rock and Szolnoki Olaj).
Borovnjak scored 22 points on 9-for-12 from the floor, collected 12 rebounds, drew five fouls (including the crucial one at the death) and added one assist, one steal and one block.
This career-best display was the ideal way for the power forward to redeem himself for a season-low three points in Game 1 of the series, less than 48 hours previously.
Borovnjak's previous season-high efficiency rating was 25 and he had registered that performance during Last 16 Week 5 action.
Tanel Kurbas came up with another big display on Thursday for Tartu Rock against Szolnoki Olaj, as he poured in a game-high 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting and added seven rebounds and six assists to reach an efficiency index rating of 27, the second-highest in Game 2 of the play-offs.
The Estonian shooting guard's efforts however were not rewarded with a win, largely because Peter Lorant was outstanding for Szolnok for the second time in two days and collected a double-double of 16 points and 14 points, also adding three assists and two steals.
Lorant, who had registered a rating of 21 in Game 1 of the series, was rated at 25 on Thursday.
The Hungarian big man shares third spot on the Game 2 Top Performers' podium with a man who tried his best in these play-offs but failed to prevent the end of the reigning champions' EuroChallenge campaign.
Demetris Nichols had 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks in Krasnye Krylia's 73-71 home defeat to Reggio Emilia on Thursday and, just like Lorant, registered a rating of 25.
EUROCHALLENGE QUARTER-FINAL PLAY-OFFS GAME 2 TOP PERFORMERS