On This Day, 2015: Khimki gets momentum-shifting win in Valencia

Mar 17, 2020 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
On This Day, 2015: Khimki gets momentum-shifting win in Valencia

On this date in 2015, defending 7DAYS EuroCup champion Valencia Basket and perennial contender Khimki Moscow Region met in the opener of the two-game total-points EuroCup Quarterfinals. La Fonteta was poised to see in-form Valencia do its thing after the team dispatched top-seeded FC Bayern Munich by a 56-point aggregate victory, but Tyrese Rice and Khimki had other ideas controlling the game for most of the night and in the end prevailing 75-76 for the team's eighth straight victory en route to winning the EuroCup title that season.

Game flow

Khimki, coached by Rimas Kurtinaitis, had a 15-3 record going into the game, but few teams have been considered favorites on the road against Valencia. However, the visitors outscored Valencia 32-48 in the middle two quarters, using a 5-13 third-quarter run, capped by three-pointers from Petteri Koponen and Rice, to open a 52-65 lead. Valencia rallied in the end behind Sam Van Rossom and managed to cut the margin to a single point at the end.

Shining Rice

Khimki point guard Rice tied his EuroCup career-high at the time, scoring 27 points. He made 6 of 8 two-point shots and 3 of 7 three-pointers while dishing 5 assists and picking up 2 steals. His PIR of 27 earned Rice co-MVP of Game 1 honors. Koponen shot 4 for 8 from downtown for 12 points on the night and big man Paul Davis also scored 12, while Egor Vialtsev had 7 points, a career-best 7 assists, and 5 rebounds in a win. Sam Van Rossom finished with 15 and Luke Harangody had 12 points for the home side.

Rice and Kurtinaitis make history

A week later, Khimki finished off Valencia with a 76-61 win in Game 2. Khimki went on to oust Banvit Bandirma in the semifinals and then sweep Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas in the finals to lift its second EuroCup crown. A year after his heroics in a Maccabi Tel Aviv uniform, when he led it to the EuroLeague title and earned Final Four MVP honors, Rice was honored as the EuroCup MVP and EuroCup Finals MVP, becoming the first player ever to accomplish that feat. Coach Kurtinaitis won his record third EuroCup title and Koponen was honored as an All-EuroCup First Team member.