Domestic league playoffs: Khimki secures EuroLeague return

May 29, 2019 by Print
Domestic league playoffs: Khimki secures EuroLeague return

VTB: Khimki KO's UNICS to keep its spot in the EuroLeague

Khimki Moscow Region will be back in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for the 2019-20 season after knocking off UNICS Kazan to reach the VTB United League finals on Wednesday evening. Khimki takes the spot as the VTB representative since its finals opponent, newly-crowned EuroLeague champion CSKA Moscow, has an automatic spot in the competition as an A-liscence team. Khimki trailed for most of the game before finishing strong to beat UNICS and win the best-of-five series 3-1. Alexey Shved led the charge with 25 points and 9 assists, Janis Timma scored 24, Jordan Mickey added 13 points and Stefan Markovic 11. Pavel Sergeev and Evgeniy Kolesnikov buried back-to-back three-pointers as UNICS jumped out to a 0-7 start, which swelled to 1-12 with Kolesnikov's second three. Timma and Shved kept Khimki in the game and the hosts rallied back to 23-27 after 10 minutes. The teams traded baskets for the first 5 minutes of the second quarter before UNICS regained a double-digit lead with a 0-7 run led by Morgan, but Shved helped Khimki close the gap to 44-49 at the break. Khimki took its first lead at 62-61 on three by Shved with 2 and a half minutes left in the third quarter, which ended with the score tied 67-67. Back-to-back threes by Trent Lockett and Jamar Smith gave UNICS a 74-79 lead with 4 minutes remaining. Mickey and Timma put Khimki back ahead. UNICS had the ball down 3 entering the final minute, but Erick McCollum missed from downtown and a dunk by Andrey Zubkov and Timma free throws kept UNICS at bay. Raymar Morgan scored 27 to lead UNICS, Jamar Smith added 19 and Lockett 15.

Buducnost wins the title in Montenegro

Buducnost VOLI Podgorica is back on the Montenegrin throne after a dramatic 76-72 win over Mornar Bar the deciding Game 5 of the playoff finals. This is 12th Montenegrin League title for Buducnost in 13 years after Mornar won the crown last season. Buducnost took the lead for good with a 7-0 run in the first quarter and led 66-53 midway through the fourth quarter after a fastbreak basket by James Bell. However, Mornar rallied and got within 71-70 with 28 seconds to go, but Nemanja Gordic kept his cool at the free throw line to preserve the victory. Gordic finished with 21 points, while Edwin Jackson and Filip Barovic, who suffered a knee injury in this game, had 13 apiece. Nikola Rebic scored 17 points for Mornar.

Greens start Greek semifinals on right foot

Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and AEK Athens started the Greek League playoff finals with respective victories on Wednesday night. The Greens bested Peristeri 68-91 behind big games from DeShaun Thomas and Nick Calathes. Thomas led Panathinaikos with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Calathes tallied 19 points and 11 assists and Matt Lojeski added 13 points on near-perfect shooting off the bench. Panathinaikos scored the first 5 points of the game and never looked back. Peristeri was within 13-14 after a Steven Gray triple 6 minutes into the contest, but the Greens went on a 2-19 run that bridged the first and second quarters in which Thomas scored 12 points. The lead reached 24 on a Calathes triple and Panathinaikos rolled into halftime with a 31-19 cushion. Peristeri showed some fight in the third quarter and behind Ben Bentil and Panagiotis Vasilopoulos reeled off 15 unanswered points to rally within 48-56, however, Panathinaikos regained its composure and soared to 49-68 at the end of the quarter and never looked back. Bentil finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Peristeri, Zois Karampelas added 12 and Gray 11. AEK defeated Promitheas 83-82 thanks to 19 points from Giannoulis Larentzakis and 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists from Howard Sant-Roos.

Fenerbahce roars into Turkey's semifinals

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul led from tip to buzzer in defeating Turk Telekom Ankara 92-59 to win their Turkish League playoffs quarterfinals series, 2-1. Nikola Kalinic scored 22 points to lead the winners, Marko Guduric added 16 points and 6 assists, Sinan Guler netted 15 and Kostas Sloukas 13. Vladimir Stimac posted 14 points and 12 rebounds for Turk Telekom and T.J. Campbell scored 12. Fenerbahce outscored Turk Telekom in all four quarters. The visitors kept it close in the first quarter before Fenerbahce pushed its advantage to double figures in the second and led 46-31 at the break. A 13-0 Fenerbahce run that bridged the third and fourth quarter boosted the margin to 68-44 and Fenerbahce cruised the rest of the way.

Sassari tops Milan in Game 1 of Italian semis

Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari struck first in the Italian League playoff semifinals by scoring a 79-86 road win over defending champion AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan. Stefano Gentile scored 12 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and Rashawn Thomas amassed 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the victors. The lead changed hands many times in the first three quarters, after which the sides were knotted 60-60. It was still tied at 67-67 and Milan trailed 70-72 with 5 minutes remaining when Sassari scored 7 unanswered points to put the game on ice. Achille Polonara netted 13 points and Dyshawn Pierre posted 12 points and 11 rebounds for Sassari. Vlado Micov paced Milan with 16 points, Mike James scored 12 and Kaleb Tarczewski tallied 10 points and 13 rebounds.