Zaragoza advances to FIBA Basketball League semi-finals
Spanish team Casademont Zaragoza is the first Semi-Finalist of the Basketball Champions League 2020-21 season. They beat Russian host Nizhny Novgorod 86-78 as part of another Ennis show in front of an amazing crowd.
Initially, Novgorod had a good game plan and executed it to perfection with a 28-point first quarter. Meanwhile, Casademont Zaragoza looked like they needed time to get used to having more than 1500 fans in the stands and could not establish their fast-paced rhythm early on in the game.
But despite all of Zaragoza’s troubles and all of Nizhny Novgorod’s good play, the hosts failed to open up a bigger lead. Moreover, Elias Harris kept Zaragoza in a single-digit deficit all the way until the end of the first half.
That allowed Dylan Ennis to just take over in the third quarter. The Canadian lightning bolt scored nine points in that period, charged the team with energy all the way to a 71-60 lead, and hit another big-time three-pointer when Nizhny Novgorod made it back to 71-68 midway through the fourth.
That fueled another little 5-0 run to put more daylight between the two, turning the game into another uphill battle for Nizhny Novgorod the rest of the way. There were some chances for Novgorod to get back to -2 or -1, but the team failed to score over the last 90 seconds of the game.
Casademont Zaragoza moves on to the Semi-Finals and waits for the winner of the ERA Nymburk v Pinar Karsiyaka duel. Nizhny Novgorod finishes the season without a chance to fight for the throne, but this was a sublime run even without the trophy. Serbian coach Zoran Lukic was selected Coach of the Season, and Kasey Shepherd made the Star Lineup First Team.
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