The teams celebrating and dreaming of the Eurocup title tonight are Strasbourg, Gran Canaria, and Trento, and here’s how they punched their tickets to the semifinal.
Strasbourg vs. Nizhny Novgorod, 91-91 2OT (185- 176)
There was high drama in France as Strasbourg made the Eurocup final four, but only after a sapping contest against Nizhny Novgorod that went through two overtime periods. After winning 85-94 in Russian a week ago, Strasbourg was in a good position, but Nizhny worked hard from the start in this game and made it very interesting indeed in what was an all-time classic encounter.
The visitors exploded from the tip off and streamed in 24 points in the first half before extending with 21 second quarter points that made it 32-45 at halftime. Strasbourg had been stunned and were losing the tie after an impressive away leg last week. The hosts rallied in the fourth quarter and used a 15-10 run to tie the tie, but lose the game through regulation (65-74). In the first added frame the French team held the momentum, but nothing separated the teams and it ended 12-12. The second overtime stanza proved the difference thanks to Strasbourg’s game winning 14-5 run that settled the contest.
Kyle Weems had a game to remember as he led the win with 35 points and 6 rebounds, followed by Rodrigue Beaubois with 17 points and Mardy Collins with 12 points, 7 assists, and 7 boards.
Victor Rudd helped give Nizhny a chance with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, while Rasid Mahalbasic grabbed a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas vs. Stelmet Zielona Gora, 83-86 (175-169)
Last season’s Eurocup runner-up, Gran Canaria, was stunned at home by Stelmet Zielona Gora of Ploand, but the Spanish team still progressed to the semifinal on the back of its road win in Poland a week ago. The 83-92 win last Wednesday ensured the hosts made it through with an aggregate score of 175-169 despite the loss.
The hosts cruised through the opening act, taking a 24-18 lead which was protected through a 21-21 shared second quarter, with the score at 45-39 during the midway break. Gran Canaria all but ensured the tie in the third frame with a sterling 25-19 run that made it 70-58 through thirty minutes. However, the guests from Gora were not finished and plundered an impressive 28 points in Q4 to send shivers through the Gran Canaria roster. The hosts survived the onslaught to claim the win.
Lukasz Koszarek and Vlad Moldoveanu both drained 15 points in the winning effort, with Dejan Borovnjak providing 14 points.
Alen Omic topped a disappointing Gran Canaria with 14 points, while Xavi Rabaseda added 13 points and Kevin Pangos added 12 points.
EA7 Emporio Armani Milano vs. Dolomiti Energia Trento, 79-92 (152-175)
Trento showed that last week’s ten point win at home was no fluke by taking apart Italian champs and compatriots Milan, in the classiest Quarterfinal game of the week. The visitors simply had too much and as a consequence the tie never looked in doubt.
A 19-24 points run in the first quarter made it a 15 point tie early on, and despite Milan attempting to fight back with 24 points in Q2, Trento matched the haul to lead 43-48 through the long break. The guests killed the tie with an 11-21 surge in the third act that took any remaining wind out of the Milan players. A 25-23 fourth quarter was exciting for the neutral, but the Milan fans were already mourning their club leaving the Eurocup.
Dominique Sutton set the scoring rhythm for Trento with 20 points, while his 8 rebound and 7 assists completed a fine personal performance. Davide Pascal was good for 17 points and 7 boards, followed by Julian Wright and Trent Lockett with 13 points each.
Krunoslav Simon provided Milan with 14 points, while Milan Macvan added 13 points.