|23 December 2013|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Augustas Peciukevicius led Tartu Rock to an Estonian Cup triumph, being crowned MVP of the final |
A buzzer-beater by Augustas Peciukevicius gifted EuroChallenge side Tartu University Rock a 71-69 triumph over BC Kalev/Cramo in the big final of the Estonian Cup on Sunday night.
The 22-year-old Lithuanian guard charged to the basket and drilled the game-winning shot right after two free throws by Kalev's Vlad Moldoveanu had tied the scores at 69 with less than five seconds left on the clock.
The dramatic final sequence capped off a too-close-for-comfort clash, in which neither team had gained anything more than a slim single-digit lead.
Peciukevicius, who was named MVP of the final, finished with a team-high 16 points and added five rebounds and three assists.
Gert Dorbek chipped in with 14 points and five boards, while Janar Talts was the third Tartu player to score in double digits, collecting 13 points and seven rebounds.
Kalev's Frank Elegar led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
"I think in a psychological sense, we needed this victory very much," said Tartu head coach Gert Kullamäe after the final.
"Kalev has accustomed us to winning crucial games and the belief that we can win games against Kalev was important."
Kullamäe's opposite number, Kalev coach Alar Varrak, congratulated the winners.
"Both teams wanted to get their hands on the cup today and although we did not play bad, it was definitely not our best game and Tartu got a precious victory today," Varrak commented.
Tartu will do battle with reigning champions Krasnye Krylia Samara, Port Of Antwerp Giants and Gaz Metan Medias in Group I of the EuroChallenge Last 16, which tips off on 14 January.
The latter two were in domestic league action at the weekend, with mixed results.
Medias cruised to a much-needed 86-69 victory over BC Timisoara at home, to improve to 5-7 in the Romanian LNB standings.
Willie Kemp paved the way for Medias with 17 points and five assists, Andrei Mandache added 16 points and Augustine Obehioye Okosun put in a very promising display in his second game with the team, collecting a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Antwerp on the other hand slumped to a 91-80 loss at Stella Artois Leuven Bears and dropped to 8-5 in the Belgian Ethias League standings.
Jean-Marc Mwema finished with 21 points and Frank Turner had 15 points and a game-high nine assists for Antwerp in defeat.
KRKA WIN EUROCHALLENGE DERBY
|Zvonko Buljan and KRKA Novo Mesto will hope the win against Szolnok is a good sign ahead of the EuroChallenge Last 16|
In a direct clash at the weekend between two teams that are pitted against each other in EuroChallenge Last 16 Group J, Krka Novo Mesto delivered a stunning defensive display to top Szolnoki Olaj 63-55 on the road, in ABA Adriatic league action.
Szolnoki led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter but a Sani Becirovic three-pointer early in the second quarter sparked a 7-0 Krka run that brought the visitors ahead, 20-16.
While Krka maintained a slight edge over their hosts after that point, their lead never reached double digits.
Five consecutive points by Jasmin Hukić at the start of the final frame however gave the Slovenian side a 48-39 cushion, enough to comfortably maintain a firm grip on proceedings until the final buzzer.
Becirovic led Krka with 13 points on 3-for-6 three-point shooting and four assists, Hukić added 11 points, while Zvonko Buljan had a near double-double of 10 points and nine rebounds.
For Szolnoki, Willie Warren had a game-high 16 points and added five rebounds and five assists but his only other team-mate to score in double digits was Cedric Oliver, who finished with 11 points.
Szolnoki were playing without Péter Lóránt, who picked up an injury in last week's EuroChallenge Regular Season clash with Tsmoki Minsk.
The Hungarian big man is expected to be sidelined until early January, but is almost certain to be back in full fitness when the EuroChallenge Last 16 tips off.
Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia and Cholet Basket are the other two teams that make up Last 16 Group J and the Italian side were in domestic league action at the weekend.
Once again in a game on the road, Reggio Emilia entered the final frame on an 8-point lead but were outscored 25-14 in the clutch and fell 72-67 at Acea Roma.
Young Latvian forward Ojars Silins, Italian international Andrea Cinciarini and new arrival Rimantas Kaukenas finished with 15 points apiece for Reggio Emilia in defeat.