KK Zagreb CO is the 2011 champion of the Citta di Roma Tournament after a 62-52 victory over Fenerbache-Ulker in the grand final on Thursday night in Rome, Italy. Zagreb didn't drop a single game the entire tournament and won the first ticket to the 2012 Nike International Junior Tournament that will take place during the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul, Turkey. Last year Zagreb won the title of the NIJT and will hope to win the second trophy in a row in the tournament's 10th anniversary. FB-Ulker, that won the tournament in Rome last year, will settle for the second spot after winning all its games until the final.
Dario Saric was named the MVP of the tournament after another huge performance in the title game. He had 21 points, 22 rebounds, four assists and an index rating of 39 to lead his team to another title. Mateo Jurkovic and Dominik Mavra added 12 points each and Filip Knezevic finished with 10. James Birsen led the losing side with 11 points and Berk Ugurlu connected 10 points.
Saric scored the first bucket in the game before FB-Ulker took a 4-6 lead that survived on the scoreboard for four minutes. Mavra with four points in a row helped Zagreb finish the first quarter down by just a single point 9-10, as the close game continued in the second quarter. Saric collected 13 points out of a total of 29 by his team in the first half when and the gap never climbed about three points the entire second quarter that finished with a 29-30 FB-Ulker lead. Knezevic and Jurkovic took over the came when the teams returned to the floor and led a 13-2 run that gave Zagreb its first double-digit lead 42-32 yet Birsen and Ugurlu woke up in time and answered with a 10-2 run to finish the third quarter down by just two points 44-42. Yet the final word was spoken by Zagreb that was Jurkovic and Mavra score from the arc but with four minutes to go it was still just a 54-50 game. Saric stepped up wth a big bucket around the rim, added a pair from the line and iced the cake with a big dunk that set the final score to cap an 8-2 run that decided the game.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Yarone Arbel, Euroleague.net