Baskonia wins the Spanish championship
KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz captured its first Spanish League championship in a decade when it edged FC Barcelona 67-69 in a thrilling championship game at the league's end-of-season tournament in Valencia. Luca Vildoza was named MVP of the Final after scoring 17 points – including the game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds remaining – to lead the winners. Toko Shengelia added 14 points and Ilimane Diop posted 10 points and 7 boards for Baskonia, which became the Spanish champion for the fourth time in club history. Thomas Heurtel was outstanding with 21 points and 5 assists in defeat and Cory Higgins netted 14 for Barcelona. The decisive stat was Barcelona's 18 turnovers, which Baskonia turned into 24 points.
Shavon Shields scored 5 points in a 2-11 Baskonia run to lead 9-15 before Higgins sparked Barcelona to regain the lead. Diop's put-back at the end of the first quarter made it 16-17. Heurtel scored 7 straight points in a 10-0 Barcelona blitz to open the second frame. Baskonia regrouped behind Shengelia, however, Kyle Kuric's buzzer-beating jumper left Barcelona ahead 39-33 at halftime. Baskonia came out strong to start the second half and soon tied it at 41-41 on a Vildoza triple. Vildoza put Baskonia in front with a free throw and a three-pointer by Zoran Dragic made it 43-47. Barcelona quickly bounced back and after three more lead changes, the third quarter finished with the teams even, 51-51. Threes by Matt Janning and Shengelia helped Baskonia to a 54-58 edge, Higgins responded with the game's next 6 points for Barcelona to take a slim lead. Nikola Mirotic fouled out with Barcelona up 1 and 5 minutes remaining. An Achille Polonara triple with 2:24 remaining broke a tie and put Baskonia ahead 64-67. Though Barcelona missed its next 5 shots, Baskonia also did not score. Pierre Oriola free throws tied it at 67-67 with 10.1 seconds remaining. Polonara found a cutting Vildoza for the go-ahead layup with 3.4 seconds remaining and after Higgins missed at the buzzer, Baskonia began celebrating.