BC Khimki is the new Eurocup champion!
BC Khimki Moscow Region won the Eurocup for the first time in club history on Sunday by downing Valencia Basket 77-68 in a thrilling final at Basketball Center of Moscow Region. Zoran Planinic was named Eurocup Finals MVP after amassing 19 points and 4 assists in 24 minutes for Khimki, which also secured a return ticket to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague for the 2012-13 season. Khimki grabbed an early lead and then rode the red-hot Zoran Planinic to a 37-30 halftime lead. The duo of Serhiy Lishchuk and Nik Caner-Medley combined for all but 1 points in Valencia’s 2-13 third-quarter run, which put the visitors ahead 43-45. The teams then battled back and forth and arrived to the closing minutes even at 66-66 after a Caner-Medely three-pointer with 2:13 left. But Vitaly Fridzon answered with a huge three and Chris Quinn tacked on 4 free throws, while Valencia turned it over twice, all of which allowed Khimki to grab the win. Kresimir Loncar added 14 points and Quinn 11 for the champs. Caner-Medley starred with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks for Valencia, while tying a Eurocup title game record for performance index rating with 38. Lishchuk tallied 16 points in defeat./p>
Valencia came away with the first possession and Victor Claver converted that into the game’s first points from the line. Loncar got inside for Khimki’s first basket. Planinic then pulled up on the baseline to give Khimki its first lead, 4-2. An Egor Vyaltsev triple helped keep the hosts in control however a Rafa Martinez drive and Stefan Markovic dish to an open Lishchuk kept Valencia close, 9-6. Caner-Medley further narrowed the gap from the line. Anton Pushkov managed to keep Khimki ahead a little longer with a basket from close range until Martinez hit from the corner and Nando De Colo nailed free throws to put Valencia ahead 11-12. Loncar restored Khimki’s lead and Thomas Kelati extended it with a triple. Flo Pietrus responded from downtown to keep it close, 16-15, after 10 minutes.
Khimki started the second quarter strong as Matt Nielsen dished to Fridzon for a hook shot and Planinic found Quinn for a short jumper. After Vitor Faverani scored for Valencia, Planinic lifted Khimki to 22-17. Faverani and Planinic traded scores again before the point guard went over Brad Newley in the post to lift Khimki to a 7-point edge. After a hard Pietrus foul on Loncar, the latter made it 28-19. Valencia got a basket back through Lishchuk inside. And De Colo set the big man up to draw the visitors within 5. However a picture perfect two-pass fast break from Nielsen to Quinn to Pushkov for a slam kept Khimki in control. Caner-Medley scored a three-point play, however a De Colo triple was ruled to be after the 24-second clock expired. A Kelati steal led to an Alexey Zhukanenko slam as Khimki remained on top. Planinic picked off a Martinez pass and took it in for a two-handed slam and after De Colo free throws, the Khimki guard capped a brilliant first half with a rainbow jumper to leave his team on top 37-30 at the break.
Martinez continued the Valencia fight as he brought his team within 5 with the first points of the second half, however Planinic picked up where he left off with a pretty penetration to make it 41-32. Valencia refused to go away as Lishchuk converted a basket-plus-foul and Caner-Medley sank 2 from the line. After a Zhukanenko slam, Lishchuk went through the Khimki big man for a basket, Zhukanenko’s third foul and a free throw to get within 43-40. Caner-Medley made it 7 free throws without a miss in bringing his team within 1 before handing off to Lishchuk, who put Valencia ahead by capping a 2-12 run. In which those two players scored all the points. Stefan Markovic added his first points from the line, but a three-pointer by Quinn put Khimki back on top. Loncar scored next, Martinez was called for a charge and Loncar connected from the charity stripe to put the host team back ahead 50-45. Caner-medley continued to fuel Valencia. His steal and slam was followed by free throws to knot the score at 50-50. Khimki snagged the lead at the end of the quarter thanks to a Kelati fadeaway at the buzzer.
Claver sank a three-pointer that restored a Valencia lead, only to see Planinic put Khimki back on top. Fridzon then stepped up with a layup off a Planinic pass and then a steal away from Caner-Medley for a Sergey Monya dunk that made it 58-53. A fourth foul on Planinic put the Khimki star in trouble. And moments later, Claver made sure to send Planinic to the bench with 5 fouls and six and a half minutes to go. A powerful Lishchuk slam closed the gap to 3. Fouls continued to play a role as both Monya and Pietrus reached 4. Mickael Gelabale’s first points came on a tip-in to put Khimki up 5, but Caner-Medley quickly matched him. Then De Colo bettered a Loncar basket with a three to make it 62-60. After Loncar came up with another bucket, Caner-Medley hit his first triple to bring Valencia within 64-63. Quinn sank a clutch jumper before Caner-Medley stunned the Khimki crowd with a triple for a 66-66 tie. Just after the two-minute mark, Fridzon nailed a big three for Khimki. Quinn sank a pair of big free throws to make it 71-66 with 86 seconds remaining. A costly De Colo turnover resulted in 2 more free throws for Quinn. Caner-Medley sank 2 for Valencia with 36 seconds left and a Pietrus steal gave Valencia a chance, but Gelabale rose high to block his countryman and Nielsen turned it into a slam at the other end as the Khimki fans started to celebrate. Fridzon free throws with 15 seconds left iced the win as Khimki won the Eurocup title for 2012!
Sunday, April 15, 2012