In its first performance in the Belgrade Nike International Junior Tournament INSEP reached the finals following a 73-61 victory over KK Buducnost on Saturday evening in Belgrade, Serbia. INSEP will take on FMP in tomorrow's finals in a game between the two undefeated teams in the games so far. Buducnost will face Partizan Belgrade in the game for the third spot. The winner in tomorrow's finals will collect the third ticket to the Nike International Junior Tournament that will take place during the 2010 Euroleague Final Four weekend in Paris, France. The teams went head-to-head for more than three quarters until the French academy team made a 7-1 run to take a 10 point gap and maintained it until the buzzer. Nevertheless the final score doesn't tell the full story of the game, as INSEP's biggest lead was set only in the last seconds with the final basket of the game. INSEP dominated the boards with 17 rebounds on offense which didn't allow Buducnost to write a come back in the closing minutes. Mourad Benkloua finished with 18 points and 8 rebounds for the winners followed by Jean Charles Livio with 14 points and 9 rebounds, William Howard added 13 points and Hugo Invernizzi finished with 11. Marko Mugosa led Buducnost with 21 points, Bojan Ratkovic added 13 and Luka Radovic finished with 10 points.
INSEP arrived sharper to the tip off to take a 2-6 lead, only to see Mugosa lead his team on a 13-0 run, and finish the first quarter by 4 points, 17-13. Benjamin John scored from the arc only to see Bucunost answer with 5 quick points and a 25-16 lead. William Howard went in the same path of John and soon Invernizzi hit the third three pointer in a row for his team, enough to put the margin in danger. Howard scored yet another ace from downtown and set the margin on a single point, 27-26, but Mugosa woke up in time and reached 11 first half points. John saw no reason to stop and hit once more from the three point line as INSEP tied the score at the half 31-31 after not scoring a single two-point field goal the entire second quarter.
Back from the break INSEP was still on fire as Howard scored another downtown arrow, but Mugosa was ready with an answer of his own at the other end as the lead changed hands constantly. Benkloua on one side and Ratkovic on the other collected points to keep the score close until Invernizzi scored 5 points in a row to set the gap on 49-44 right before the third buzzer. Keita arrived to the last quarter without points but in less than 2 minutes scored 5 and created a 57-51 gap for his team. Livio and John extended the margin to 10, to cap the first run of the game, but Mugosa didn't give up yet and cut the difference to 6, yet it wasn't enough. INSEP dominated the glass with offensive boards and Livio with a dunk pushed the margin back to 10, 67-57 with less than two minutes to play. From here there was no come back for Buducnost as Benkloua finalized the game with a lay up to set the highest difference of the game at 12.
Saturday, February 13, 2010