| Uxue Bilbao Basket has reached the Eurocup Final! Bilbao advanced to the Eurocup Final for the first time in club history by sweeping its two-way series against BC Budivelnik Kiev. On Wednesday, Bilbao defeated Budivelnik 75-53 to win the two-way series by a total margin of 32 points and will face PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar at the RTL Spiroudome in Charleroi, Belgium on Saturday, April 13. Lamont Hamilton and Alex Mumbru paced the winners with 13 points apiece. Fran Pilepic, Mamadou Samb and Kostas Vasileiadis each added 10 for Bilbao. Leo Lyons led Budivelnik with 20 points. Artur Drozdov added 12 for the guests. Malcolm Delaney, who scored 38 points in Game 1, was held scoreless for 31 minutes. Bilbao had a strong start, as Hamilton and Axel Hervelle led their team to a 20-9 lead. Budivelnik used a 0-8 run that return to the game, 20-17, early in the second quarter. It didn't last long, however, as Roger Grimau and Samb stepped up to boost the hosts' lead to 37-23 at halftime. Nothing changed after the break, as Bilbao boosted its margin to 43-23 and had plenty of time to celebrate a historical win in front of a sellout crowd of over 10,000 fans at Bilbao Arena.
Both teams struggled to score early until Drozdov stepped up with a three-pointer. Vasileiadis made free throws and Mumbru struck from downtown to give Bilbao its first lead, 5-3. Hervelle joined the three-point shootout, Michail Anisimov hit a jumper and a put-back basket by Hamilton boosted the hosts' lead to 10-5. Budivelnik kept struggling to score and a layup-plus-foul by Hamilton ignited the crowd at 13-5. Anisimov tried to change things with a running hook that Hamilton erased with a wild turnaround jumper. Lyons shined with an acrobatic layup but Hervelle his second three-pointer with a fast break layup that forced Budivelnik to stop the game at 20-9. The guests could not find the way to the basket but Drozdov rescued Budivelnik with a triple. A huge driving basket by Lyons brought the guests a bit closer, 20-14, after 10 minutes.
Sergey Gorbenko struck from downtown early in the second quarter to cap a 0-8 Budivelnik run. Hamilton made free throws and a driving layup by a recovered Grimau gave Bilbao some fresh air at 24-17. Pilepic took over with a fast break layup, as Bilbao held its opponent scoreless for more than 3 minutes. Grimau kept pacing Bilbao with a fast break slam that forced coach Aigars Bagatskis to call timeout at 28-17, after an 8-0 run. Lyons stepped up with a jump hook and a close basket by Anisimovas kept Budivelnik within 28-21. Pilepic set the crowd on fire with a three-pointer, Lyons made free throws and an electric driving layup by Vasileiadis restored a 33-23 Bilbao edge. Samb scored around the basket and followed up with an acrobatic layup that allowed all Bilbao to start celebrating, 37-23, at halftime.
Mumbru took over with an alleyoop layup immediately after the break and a jumper by Hamilton gave Bilbao a 43-25 lead. A jumper by Nikos Zisis made it a 20-point lead, 43-23. Drozdov tried to ignite the guests' comeback with a jumper and a driving layup and Anisimov soon brought Budivelnik within 43-29, after a 0-6 run. Vasileiadis struck from downtown and Zisis sank his trademark stop-and-pop jumper to keep Bilbao way out of trouble at 48-29. Lyons nailed a three-pointer, Zisis split free throws and Gorbenko nailed one from beyond the arc for a 49-35 Budivelnik deficit. Hamilton sent the crowd to their feet with a slam, as Bilbao had started to use longer possessions to run the game clock down. Drozdov scored down low but Samb matched that with a jumper. Lyons took over with a three-point play and a buzzer-beating baseline jumper by Volodymyr Iegorov fixed the score at 53-42 after 30 minutes.
Lyons swished a jumper early in the fourth quarter to bring Budivelnik within single digits, 53-44. Mumbru scored in a low post and followed that with free throws for a 57-44 Bilbao lead. Delaney buried a triple - his first points tonight - erased Mumbru's easy basket with a driving layup. Pilepic nailed his second three-pointer but Lyons kept pacing Budivelnik with a tip-in and a driving basket to keep the geusts within 62-53. Mumbru - who else? - hit a jump hook and Bilbao kept running the game clock down, backed by an amazing crowd. Pilepic scored in penetration and by the time Zisis hit a jumper, everything was said and done already. Budivelnik had a bitter end to an otherwise fantastic Eurocup season and more than 10,000 Bilbao fans celebrated that their team will fight for its first-ever continental title at the RTL Spiroudome on April 13!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013