Cedevita Zagreb reached the Eurocup Finals! Cedevita earnt the right to keep fighting for the Eurocup title by beating Asefa Estudiantes 72-81 in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday night. Cedevita swept the two way, total-point series and went all the way from the Qualifying Rounds to the Finals. Bracey Wright paced the winners with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Vedran Vukusic added 15 points while Dontaye Draper had 13 for Cedevita. German Gabriel and Pancho Jasen led Estudiantes with 12 points apiece. Ty Ellis added 11, Sergio Sanchez had 10 while Nik Caner-Medley pulled down 12 rebounds for the hosts, that led 21-15 early. Damjan Rudez and Wright allowed Cedevita to get a 25-26 edge after 10 minutes. Cedevita managed to trade baskets for the best part of the game and back-to-back triples by Tomislav Petrovic broke the game open, 59-66, early in the fourth quarter. Estudiantes never recovered, allowing Cedevita to celebrate the biggest win - so far - in club history.
Back-to-back layups by Josh Asselin and Jiri Welsch ignited a 7-1 opening run that Sanchez capped with a three-pointer. Vedran Vukusic sank free throws but Sanchez struck again from downtown to send the crowd to their feet, 10-3. Draper joined the three-point shootout but free throws by Caner-Medley and a jumper by Welsch gave Estudiantes a 14-6 lead. Wright rescued Cedevita with consecutive layups and Draper soon brought the guests within 16-13. Jasen scored down low and Caner-Medley soon restored a 21-15 lead. Wright and Rudez kept pacing Cedevita and a layup by Vedran Princ got the guests within 23-21. A layup-plus-foul by Wright soon gave Cedevita its first lead, 23-24. Gabriel sank free throws that an unstoppable Wright matched with a long jumper for a 25-26 score after 10 minutes.
Wright took over with an acrobatic basket early in the second quarter. Gabriel scored in the low post and a three-pointer by Ellis put Estudiantes back ahead, 30-28. Sanchez stayed on fire with a six-meter jumper that Princ matched with a driving layup in transition. A jumper by an inspired Gabriel forced coach Aca Petrovic to call timeout at 34-30. Jay Granger took over with an off-balance layup, as Estudiantes dominated the boards through an incredible Caner-Medley - 10 rebounds in 14 minutes. Cedevita improved its defense and used a 0-7 run that Wright capped with a bomb from downtown to regain the lead, 36-37. Marino Badzaric made free throws but Daniel Clark and a wild dunk by Caner-Medley tied it at 39-39. Ellis buried his second triple but free throws by Wright kept Cedevita within 42-41 at halftime.
Vukusic picked up his fourth foul immediately after the break, making Cedevita change its game plan right away. Draper and Granger traded layups but a power basket by Vukusic gave the guests a 44-45 edge. Sanchez scored in penetration but Vukusic scored on fire with back-to-back baskets. Cedevita entered the foul bonus and switched to a zone defense. Caner-Medley and Jasen sank free throws to tie it at 49-49. Vukusic shined with another layup that Jasen matched with a jump hook. Princ buried a big three-pointer and Vukusic copied him right after that to force Estudiantes to call timeout at 51-57. Jasen and Ellis made foul shots but the hosts kept missing shots from downtown. Wright made foul shots but Gabriel bettered that with a triple for a 57-60 Estudiantes deficit after 30 minutes.
Petrovic struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter, as Cedevita tried to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Jaime Fernandez scored off a steal but he didn't find much help around. Cedevita kept full control of the game and another triple by Petrovic seemed to seal the outcome, 59-66. Estudiantes was not done, however, as Gabriel shined with a three-point play while a triple by Ellis set the crowd on fire, 65-68. Petrovic silenced all Estudiantes fans with a dunk and Rudez added free throws but Oliver and Jasen got Estudiantes even closer, 70-72, with 4 minutes left. Bazdaric sealed the outcome with a three-pointer and a layup in transition by Draper sealed the outcome, 70-77. Estudiantes kept trying but Cedevita was already celebrating that their Eurocup season is still far from being over.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011