On This Day, 2018: Wilbekin sends Darussafaka to Finals

Mar 23, 2020 by Eurocupbasketball.com Print
On This Day, 2018: Wilbekin sends Darussafaka to Finals

Two years ago, Darussafaka Istanbul arrived at Audi Dome with a 1-0 lead in its best-of-three semifinals playoffs series against FC Bayern Munich. In Game 1, Darussafaka rallied from a 23-point deficit to edge Bayern 76-74 on a last-second three-point shot by Stanton Kidd. Scottie Wilbekin led the winners with 24 points and 7 assists. Micheal Eric posted a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds and JaJuan Johnson added 15 points. Bayern got 20 points from Jared Cunningham and 15 from Reggie Redding. Bayern entered this game with a 10-0 home record in the EuroCup that season, but Darussafaka's star was ready for the challenge.

Bayern gets early lead

Pushed by a sellout crowd eager to keep Bayern alive in the competition, the hosts found easy points in the paint, as Danilo Barthel and Devin Booker led their team to a 16-8 lead. Stefan Jovic soon boosted Bayern's lead to 37-28 with a fastbreak layup midway through the second quarter, but that is when Wilbekin got started. He struck three times from downtown and added a three-point play, singlehandedly keeping Darussafaka within 44-41 at halftime. Wilbekin had 15 of his 22 first-half points in the second quarter and the best was yet to come.

Wilbekin takes over

A catch-and-shoot three-pointer by Wilbekin, his 6th of the night, put Darussafaka ahead 46-49. His 8th bomb from beyond the arc ignited a 0-7 run that Howard Sant-Roos capped with consecutive baskets for a 58-64 lead. Maik Zirbes and Vladimir Lucic cut the difference to 64-66 after 30 minutes. Bayern managed to tie the game at 71-71 midway through the fourth quarter, but Wilbekin had not said his final word. He buried his 9th triple to put his team ahead for good and added a 10th from far behind the arc to seal the outcome at 75-82 in the next-to-last minute. Bayern did not give up, but Darussafaka kept full control of the game until the final buzzer and punched its ticket to its first-ever EuroCup Finals.

About the game

Wilbekin made 10 three-point shots on his way to 41 points, breaking the EuroCup records in both categories for a non-overtime game. Those records still stand today. He also dished 5 assists and made 2 steals for a PIR of 44, the third-highest ever in a semifinal game, only trailing Malcolm Delaney of Budivelnik Kiev (47 in 2013) and Willie Solomon of Hapoel Jerusalem (45 in 2004). JaJuan Johnson added 16 points while Sant-Roos had 12 for Darussafaka. The home team got 14 points from Redding and 13 each from Booker and Lucic. Three-point shots made the difference; Bayern hit 6 of 21 shots from downtown - that's 4 three-point shots less than Darussafaka's superstar!

What happened next

Wilbekin did not stop until he made sure his team would lift the trophy. Darussafaka did not have the home-court advantage against Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar, which came into the 2018 EuroCup Finals undefeated. Darussafaka performed another magic trick - with the team down by 3, a few seconds left in regulation and Lokomotiv ball, Sant-Roos collected a steal which allowed Wilbekin to down a triple that sent the game to overtime. Darussafaka ended up winning that game, 78-81, and finished the job at home in Game 2, 67-59. Wilbekin had 24 and 28 points, respectively, and finished the season as the EuroCup MVP, Regular Season MVP, Semifinals MVP and Finals MVP, dominating the competition in historic fashion.