Eurocup Quarterfinals, Game 2: Two sweeps, one champion eliminated
The first Eurocup Semifinals ticket was awarded to Banvit Bandirma on Tuesday and Khimki Moscow Region, Unics Kazan and Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas joined the fray on Wednesday. The quarterfinals finished with two series sweeps, the reigning champion ousted and another former champ going home. The semifinals will pit Gran Canaria against 2014 runner-up Unics and 2012 Eurocup champ Khimki against first-time semifinalist Banvit.
Banvit Bandirma vs. Paris Levallois
Sammy Mejia starred with 7 of his game-high 18 points in the final 30 seconds to lead Banvit Bandirma to a 75-71 victory over Paris Levallois and a spot in the Eurocup Semifinals for the first time in club history. Paris had won Game 1 of the two-game, total-points quarterfinals series 65-67 a week earlier and kept its chances alive until the final seconds, but Mejia’s free-throw shooting helped the home team prevail. Mejia also collected 9 rebounds for the winning side, while E.J. Rowland added 16 points. Mike Green paced Paris with 16 points and 9 assists.
Khimki Moscow Region vs. Valencia Basket
There will be a new Eurocup champion in 2015 after Khimki Moscow Region eliminated Valencia Basket 76-61 to sweep their two-game quarterfinal series. Khimki won its 18th straight home game and advanced to the Eurocup semifinals for the third time in club history, while denying Valencia’s big to become the first back-to-back Eurocup champ. Tyrese Rice paced the winners with 18 points and 10 assists and Sergey Monya added 16 points points for Khimki. Bojan Dubljevic scored 15 for Valencia. The visitors led 24-30 in the second quarter before Egor Vyaltsev and Monia each had 5 points in a 14-2 run that helped Khimki to a 42-36 halftime advantage. Valencia was held scoreless for five minutes after the break which Rice and Tyler Honeycutt extended Khimki’s lead to 17 points and Valencia never recovered.
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar vs. Unics Kazan
2014 Eurocup runner-up Unics Kazan dominated Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar 58-79 to advance to the Eurocup Semifinals for the fourth time. Lokomotiv, which rode a competition-record 20-game winning streak into Game 2 of the two-game total-points quarterfinals series, won Game 1 by 9 points. The hosts seemed in control through the first half, but James White scored 7 points during a 3-19 charge that bridged the third and fourth quarters to make it 44-61 and gave Unics an 8-point series lead. White added a triple for a 20-point difference and the visitors held strong until the final buzzer. Unics outscored Lokomotiv 25-45 in the second half. Short-handed Lokomotiv was without stars Derrick Brown and Antony Randolph and only dressed 10 players, while Unics missed leading scorer Keith Langford through injury. White finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, while D’Or Fischer posted 17 and 8 for Unics, which held Lokomotiv to a season-low offensive output. Malcolm Delaney led Lokomotiv with 16 points.
Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir - Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas
The last team to reach the semifinals was Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas, which downed Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir 74-75 in front of almost 5,000 fans in Turkey. Gran Canaria swept the series and improved to 19-1 in the 2014-15 Eurocup. This will mark its first appearance in the semifinals in its ninth season in the competition. Brad Newley led the winners with 15 points and Levon Kendall added 12. Bobby Dixon led Karsiyaka with 24 points on 6-of-8 three-point shooting. Gran Canaria found a go-to guy in Newley, who got plenty of help from Albert Oliver and Walter Tavares to forge a 32-41 halftime advantage. A layup by Tavares gave the guests their biggest lead, 35-46. D.J. Strawberry and Juan Palacios brought Karsiyaka within 53-57 and the hosts rallied to lead 71-67 with three minutes left, but Eulis Baez and an outstanding Kendall secured the win and sweep.
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