Then there were two…
The Euroleague Qualifier Round has worked its way to the final two, Pallacanestro Cantu and Le Mans Sarthe Basket. One of those squads will begin preparations to join Euroleague Group A that will start play on October 12, 201 agains Union Olimpija Ljubljana, the other will compete in the EuroCup.
Pallacanestro Cantu – CEZ Basketball Nymburk 89-83
The way these two teams started their semi-finals contest it was obvious that they knew the importance of the contest. The sense of urgency was apparent as the two squads kept a frenzied pace up early on. Nymburk went cold allowing host team Cantu to run off 10 unanswered points, fortunately finding the net again and cutting the gap slightly to give Cantu a 23-17 lead after the first period.
Nymburk went on a 12-0 run of their own mid-way through the second quarter to take the lead, but Cantu pulled to within one at the half, 44-43. Cantu took control of the contest at the end of the third quarter, going up 68-57 heading into the final 10 minutes. When play resumed in the fourth, the hosts completed a 13-0 run to build a substantial margin, but Cantu’s offense went cold and Nymburk starting fighting back. Unfortunately it was too little too late and they ran out of time, sending Cantu into the finals today in front of a home crowd.
The hosts got 19 points from Pietro Aradori, 16 from Jerry Smith and 13 from Jeff Brooks. Nymburk got 16 points each from Adrian Adams and Mike Taylor, 13 points from Lukas Palyza, and 12 each from Christos Tapoutos and Drew Naymick.
Unics Kazan – Le Mans Sarthe Basket 78-86
The Unics-Le Mans game was a hard fought battle from start to finish, with Le Mans just playing more consistently through the end of the game. They played to a close 22-20 with Le Mans holding the slight advantage. They worked held on to that margin through the second quarter to take a 42-38 lead into the half.
Unics worked their way back to tie the score in the third and the teams traded baskets and free throws in a rather foul-heavy quarter, but the highlight of the 10-minutes was a half-court buzzer-beater by Terrell Lyday that put Unics up 61-58 going into the final frame.
The forth quarter started with a three-point shooting contest between the two squads, then moved inside, but when as the clock got lighter, it was Le Mans that was able to keep their score increasing, sending them into the Finals with Cantu.
Le Mans got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Joao Paulo Batista, 15 points from Cuthbert Victor, 13 from Charles Kahudi, and 12 from Khalid El-Amin. Unics Kazan got 20 points and eight rebounds from Kostas Kaimakoglou, 18 points from Terrell Lyday, 13 from Mire Chatman, and 12 from Ian Vougioukas.
The finals will be held today at 20:30 CET at the Paladesio, Desio, Italy