Fan incidents mar National Cup Week finals

Fans seating after numerous seats were torn out and thrown onto the court at the Greek Cup finals on Sunday. Riot police can be seen in the foreground.

There was as much action in the stands at a number of the title games of the National Cups that concluded on Sunday as there was on the courts as more than one contest had incidents serious enough to warrant sending the teams to the locker rooms while the disturbances were handled by the on-call riot police. In the Greek Cup, play was suspended for over an hour while the spectators were taken out of the arena after a select few got out of hand and threw items on to the court as well as between the fans of each team. Also, in the pre-game warm-up, Kyle Hines of Olympiacos was hit with a flare and suffered minor injuries, but was able to play. In the Serbian Cup, fans got so out of hand play was suspended and a decision was made to resume the contest on Monday, without an audience. On Friday, Marko Tomas of Cedevita Zagreb charged into the stands after his club lost the Croatian Cup and put a fan in the hospital after becoming more and more upset by the Cibona fans comments throughout the title game.

On the positive side, a number of clubs earned repeat Cup titles and/or added to their already impressive trophy cases with additional National Cup hardware. Panathinaikos picked up their 14th Greek Cup; Montepaschi Siena earned their fifth consecutive Italian Cup; Trefl Sopot repeated as Polish Cup champions; Union Olimpija will most likely need to build a new wing on their trophy building as they brought home their 19th Slovenian Cup (sixth consecutive); FC Barcelona Regal pulled even with Real Madrid with 23 Copa del Rey trophies each; and Fenerbahce Ulker won their fourth Turkish Cup title, this being their third in four years.

National Cup week in Europe was full of exciting basketball in front of enthusiastic, loyal and sometimes crazy fans that once again proved that sport in Europe isn’t just entertainment…

Panathinaikos team and management celebrate with their Greek Cup hardware after defeating Olympiacos, 81:78, on Sunday.

Greek Cup:
Semi-Finals (Dec. 22):
Kavala – Olympiacos, 55:87
Panathinaikos – KAO Dramas, 66:56

Finals (Feb. 10)
Panathinaikos – Olympiacos, 81:78
Panathinaikos earned their 14th Greek Cup, second consecutive and 7th in the last 10 years, with an 81:78 victory over Olympiacos at the Hellinikio Olympic Arena. Roko Ukic was named MVP of the tournament, scoring 18 points in the final.

This was a game that included a player getting hit with a flare in pre-game warm-ups, a delay of over an hour for riot police to get the fan situation under control, to clear the arena, and to check everyone that was allowed back in for dangerous materials so the contest could continue (with the number of incidents it makes one wonder why a more strict and complete check isn’t done before letting fans in), and another player getting hit by something from the stands, this time in the head with a stone, an injury that required stitches.

When the two clubs were able to do what they do best, play basketball, they did so at the level that was expected of them and provided an exciting result to those fortunate enough to witness it.

In the first frame Panathinaikos took control and got out to a 22:9 advantage, before Olympiacos started what would end up being a 1:8 run that bridged the end of the first and the start of the second. As the time ran out on the first frame the Greens held a 23:15 advantage. It was three minutes into the second 10, with the score 26:17, when Olympiacos’ Pero Antic and Panathinaikos’ Stephane Lasme got tangled up under the basket, ending with Lasme head-butting Antic, resulting in a technical foul. The incident set off a series of events that included seats being torn out and thrown onto the court, flares being set of, fans storming the court, and clashes between fans from both sides as well as the riot police. After a delay of just over an hour, the teams were brought back onto the court to warm up and continue the game, in front of a nearly empty arena. When play resumed, Panathinaikos extended their lead to 33:17, and then were outscored 8:13 to close out the first half up 41:30. The Reds came out in the third ready to play, going on a 4:13 run that cut the gap to two, 45:43. Panathinaikos was able to run the margin back up to 9 by the end of the third, to head into the final quarter up 62:53. Olympiacos fought back early in the fourth and with three minutes to play, grabbed their first lead of the contest, pulling ahead 71:72. The Greens went on a 7:0 run at that point to put the game into two-possession territory. The Reds had the ball with an opportunity to tie, but Vassillis Spanoulis came up empty on his triple attempt, giving Panathinaikos yet another Greek Cup trophy.

Diamantidis was game-high for the Greens with 19 points (12 for 12 from the line), 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. Ukic added 18, Lasme contributed 16 points and 6 rebounds, and James Gist had 11 points. Peto Antic scored 17 points and hauled in 8 rebounds for Olympiacos. Acie Law dropped 15, Spanoulis has 12 points and 7 assists, and Sloukas contributed 10 points.

Italian Cup – “BEKO Final Eight”:
Quarterfinals (Thurs., Feb. 7):
Mapooro Cantu – Acea Roma, 85:89
Cimberio Varese – EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, 92:74

Quarterfinals (Fri., Feb. 8):
Banco Di Sardegna Sassari – Enel Brindisi, 98:96

Semi-Finals (Sat., Feb. 9):
Cimberio Varese – Acea Roma, 81:71
Montepaschi Siena – Banco Di Sardegna Sassari, 85:78

Montepaschi Siena hoist the 2013 Italian Cup trophy Sunday.

Finals (Sun., Feb. 10):
Cimberio Varese – Montepaschi Siena, 74:77
For the last four years, Mens Sana Basket, otherwise known as Montepaschi Siena, has hoisted the Italian Basketball Cup (currently known as the “BEKO Final Eight Cup”) trophy. It looked like Siena was going to run away with their title contest against Cimberio Varese on Sunday, but Varese put up an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter and fell just short, 74:77, giving Montepaschi their fifth consecutive Cup. Siena’s Daniel Hackett was named MVP of the tournament.

Varese’s chances in the title game began to look bleak early on as Siena ran off the first 18 points of the contest in under five minutes. After scoring the first 18 though, Montepaschi could only tally another five over the second half of the first quarter, while Varese picked up 14, to close out the first 10 with the score 23:14. MVP Hackett dropped in 12 in the second frame, including 5 of 5 from the line, a triple and two jumpers. Hackett’s three-pointer closed scoring in the first have with Siena up 43:29. In the third frame, Siena was able to extend their lead to 21 late in the quarter, but that lead was cut to 17, 66:49, on a pair of baskets in the paint by Varese. Bobby Brown netted 11 for Siena in the third and Mike Green duplicated the total for Varese. Siena went scoreless for over seven minutes in the fourth quarter, while Varese ran off 12 unanswered to cut the margin to five, 66:61. Hackett dropped in a triple to end the Siena scoring drought, but Green hit a pair of singles and a jumper to make it a four-point game with under two minutes to play. Brown hit a pair of free throws and jumper to push the lead back to eight, then Green sank three singles after getting fouled on a shot behind the arc. Brown dropped in another set of free throws, and Ebi Ere netted a triple for Varese to make it 75:71. Viktor Sanikidze iced the contest with two free throws with seconds to play, putting the game out of reach even as Nicholas De Andrea hit a three-ball as time ran out, finalizing the score at 77:74 and giving Siena their fifth consecutive Cup title.

Brown led Siena with 25 points and 4 assists, and Hackett added 17 points to the win. Green was game-high with 29 points, 4 assists and 6 rebounds for Varese. Bryant Dunston added 14 points and 5 rebounds.

Trefl Sopot celebrate winning the Intermarche Basket Cup.

Poland Cup – “Intermarche Basket Cup”:
Anwil Włocławek – Trefl Sopot, 72:79
Stelmet Zielona Góra – Asseco Prokom Gdynia, 74:83
Jezioro Tarnobrzeg – PGE Turów Zgorzelec, 79:88

Semi-Finals (Feb. 9 – Koszalin):
PGE Turów Zgorzelec – Trefl Sopot, 76:90
AZS Koszalin – Asseco Prokom Gdynia, 82:75

Finals (Feb. 10 – Koszalin)
Trefl Sopot – AZS Koszalin, 64:59
Trefl Sopot held off host club, AZS Koszalin, in Poland’s “Intermarche Basket Cup” on Sunday to pick up their second consecutive Cup title with a 64:59 score. Sopot’s Adam Waczyński was named the tournament MVP scoring 24 points and collecting 8 rebounds in the semi-finals against PGE Turów Zgorzelec, and then dropping in 15 points an grabbing 8 rebounds in the finals.

AZS tallied the first six points of the contest on their way to an 11:14 lead at the end of the first 10. They also dropped in the first four of the second quarter to get up by seven. Sopot was able to outscore them 17:8 from there on out to end the half up two, 28:26. Opening the third Trefl Sopot picked up the first four on fast breaks to push the lead to six. Mid-way through the frame Frank Turner connected on two sets of singles and a jumper, then Filip Dylewicz knocked down a jumper to extend the margin to 11, 44:33. Heading into the last 10 Trefl Sopot held a 47:36 advantage. Sopot was able to cover any points that AZS put on the board early in the fourth so that they could keep their lead. A five point run late in the final quarter cut the lead to six, 59:53, but a jumper and two free throws gave Sopot a 10-point cushion right before two AZS triples, sliced the gap to four with eight seconds to play, but it wasn’t enough and time ran out on them, giving Trefl Sopot the confetti shower and the check for PLN 40,000 (EUR 9,637).

Turner led the way for Trefl Sopot with 18 points and 8 rebounds in the title game. Waczynski’s 15 points and 8 rebounds helped earn him the MVP trophy for the Cup competition, Dylewicz added 14 points and 6 rebounds to the championship effort. Cameron Bennerman of AZS Koszalin equaled Turner for game-high honors with 18 points, Paul Leończyk and Luke Wisniewski contributed 12 each to the host club’s efforts.

Serbian Cup – “Kup Radivoja Koraca”:
Quarterfinals (Thurs., Feb. 7):
Mega Vizura – Vrsac, 82:79
Partizan mt:s Belgrade – Sloboda, 73:50

Quarterfinals (Fri., Feb. 8):
Radnicki – Metalac, 95:60
Crvena Zvezda Telekom – Vojvodina, 97:72

Semi-Finals (Sat., Feb. 9):
Mega Vizura – Partizan, 77:87
Radnicki – Crvena Zvezda Telekom, 64:90

Finals (Sun., Feb. 10):
Partizan – Crvena Zvezda Telekom

Union Olimpija team members gather after winning their 19th Slovenian Cup.

Slovenian Cup – “F8 Pokal Spar”:
Quarterfinals (Feb. 7):
Plama Plur – Krka, 59:91
Helios Domžale – Splošna plovba Portorož, 91:82

Quarterfinals (Feb. 8):
Union Olimpija – Šenčur Gorenjska, 89:84
Tajfun – Maribor Messer, 77:62

Semi-Finals (Feb. 9):
Union Olimpija – Tajfun, 82:76
Krka – Helios Domžale, 66:71

Finals (Feb. 10)
Union Olimpija – Helios Domžale, 73:61
Union Olimpija used a strong second quarter to build a substantial lead over Helios Domzale in the finals of the Slovenian Cup on Sunday to win their 19th title in 22 years and their sixth consecutive. Olimpija’s Dino Muric was named the finals MVP based on his 16 point performance in the finals.

The first quarter ended in Helios holding a one-point advantage, 16:17, as the two clubs exchanged baskets for the first 10 minutes. Olimpija used the first three and a half minutes of the second quarter to let everyone know that they weren’t planning on leaving the area without their 19th Cup as they ran off the first 12 points of the frame to get out in front 28:17. Helios battled through the rest of the second, ultimately cutting the lead to six with a minute to play in the half. Jasmin Perkovic dropped in a jumper to push the gap to eight and then Klemen Prepelič nailed a triple with three seconds to play to send the clubs to the break with Olimpija up 39:28. Helios sliced the margin to seven with the first four points of the quarter, Alen Omič connected for a deuce, and eventual Cup MVP Dino Muric dropped in a jumper and connected on two sets of singles to cap an 8:0 run for Olimpija and extend the lead to 15, 47:32. Muric would tally 10 in the frame, but Helios pressed on sinking seven of eight free throws in the period and dropping in the final five points of the quarter to come from 16 down mid-way through the third 10 to only down five, 56:51, heading into the last stanza. Unfortunately for Helios, the defending champs came out of the quarter break on fire and got a pair of singles and three jumpers to push the margin back to 13 in less than three minutes of play, 64:51. After a pair of singles was split on the Helios end, Olimpija got a triple and then a jumper, to extend the lead to 17. Ðorðe Majstorovič scored six unanswered of his own for Helios to reduce the deficit to 10, but five missed shots and two turnovers in the final five minutes of the contest didn’t help Helios’ chances of dethroning Olimpija and as the final buzzer sounded the board showed a 73:61 score, reflecting the sixth Cup win in a row for Olimpija.

Muric’s 16 points and 3 steals were game-high for Olimpija and good enough to earn him the MVP trophy. Omič added 12, Jaka Blazic contributed 11 points and 6 rebounds to the win. Nikola Gačeša led Helios with 15 points, Majstorovič contributed 12 points, 8 rebounds 3 assists and 2 steals.

FC Barcelona Regal celebrate winning their 23rd Copa del Rey.

Spanish Cup – “Copa del Rey”:
Quarterfinals (Thurs., Feb. 7):
Real Madrid – FC Barcelona Regal, 108:111 2OT
Caja Laboral – CAI Zaragoza, 88:64

Quarterfinals (Fri., Feb. 8):
Valencia Basket – Asefa Estudiantes, 77:59
Herbalife Gran Canarias – Uxue Bilbao Basket, 74:62

Semi-Finals (Sat., Feb. 9):
FC Barcelona Regal – Caja Laboral, 80:69
Valencia Basket – Herbalife Gran Canarias, 83:72

Finals (Feb. 10)
FC Barcelona Regal – Valencia Basket, 85:69
FC Barcelona Regal pulled even with Real Madrid on the leaders board for most Copa del Rey titles won with 23 with a solid 16-point win over Valencia Basket, 85:69. Regals Pete Mickeal was named MVP of the tournament after a 14 point performance in the finals. The seven-games that included the four quarterfinal contests, two semi-finals and the title match, set a Cope del Rey attendance record with 100,205 spectators (14,315 per game average), besting the old mark set in 2010 with 97,276 attended.

Barcelona got up 14:6 in the first frame, but Valencia knocked down the final six of the quarter to take the lead 17:18. Valencia used the long ball to keep out front and get up by as much as five before Regal chipped away at the lead and then had Nathan Jawai on the flying end of two consecutive successful alley-oops from Marcelo Huertas to put Barça up by one, 29:28. Huertas closed out the scoring in the first have with a jumper of his own, to put Regal up three, 36:33, at the intermission. For nearly three minutes in the third quarter, Jawai was the only player that could move the scoreboard, first with a put-back on an offensive rebound, then and inside jumper and the single off a foul on the shot that completed the three-point play. At the end of his five-point run, he had Regal up eight, 41:33. Barça was able to extend the margin to 13 after Brad Oleson dropped in two consecutive jumpers, but a 2:9 run by Valencia cut the gap to six. Mickael dropped in four singles and a triple to push the lead back to 11, but Justin Doellman connected on a three-ball with 14 seconds to play in the third to send the game to the final frame with Regal holding a 61:53 advantage. Barcelona had a couple of mini scoring runs in the final frame (seven and five points), while holding Valencia to 16 points to earn their 23rd Copa del Rey title, 85:69.

Mickeal’s 14 points led Barcelona to the title and him to the MVP trophy, while Ante Tomic and Huertas (8 assists) added 13 each. Oleson contributed 12 to the win. Doellman and Markovic paced Valencia with 14 points, and Faverani added 12.

Turkish Cup – “Spor Toto Turkiye Kupasi”:
Semi-Finals (Feb. 8 – Eskişehir, Anadolu Univ.):
Besiktas JK Istanbul vs. Fenerbahce Ulker, 66:75
Banvit BK Bandirma vs. Galatasaray Medical Park, 68:81OT

Finals (Feb. 10 – Eskişehir, Anadolu Univ.)
Fenerbahce Ulker – Galatasaray Medical Park, 63:57

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