CSKA REPEL FENER TO WIN EUROLEAGUE

CSKA Moscow won the 2016 Euroleague title in Berlin with an 101-96 overtime victory over Fenerbahce Istanbul.

However, from what seemed set to be an inevitable blowout, the final turned into an instant classic.

Down 50-30 and reeling at half-time, the Turks improbably rallied from trailing 67-48 with one minute left in the third quarter.

A roll of the dice with relentless double teams on defence flicked a switch. It knocked the omnipotent CSKA out of their stride and eventually Bobby Dixon buried a three-pointer that levelled the game with 31 seconds left before Kostas Sloukas put his side ahead from the line to cap a 23-7 run back from the dead.

Suddenly, it was the presumed favourites who needed a revival. Viktor Khryapa converted a rebound as the Russians – playing without the injured Great Britain centre Joel Freeland – tied at 83-83 with 1.9 secs left to force OT.

Momentum was with Fener. The advantage changed hands four times in the extra period but it was CSKA who hit their stride and did so decisively.

Euroleague – and ultimately Final Four – MVP Nando de Colo, who scored a game-high 22 points, started and finished a 6-0 burst.

And even though Dixon hit another three, this time there was no miracle recovery as the Muscovites lifted the European title for the seventh time in their history and gave coach Dimitrios Itoudis his maiden crown against his long-time mentor Željko Obradović.

“It was a tough game, we were leading by 20,” said CSKA guard Milos Teodesic, who spent much of the second half on four fouls before taking the first continental championship of his illustrious career.

“Fenerbahce is a great team. They never gave up. We had to give everything we had inside to win this game.”

Dixon ended with a team-best 17 points for Fener.

Earlier, Lokomotiv Kuban, who lost to CSKA in an all-Russian semi-final, defeated Baskonia Vitoria 85-75 in the third-place game.

“We wanted to finsh the right way, play hard like we have been doing the whole season,” said Kuba forward Victor Claver. “We wanted to finish the season with a win, which is what we did. We came out, played hard, and that’s what got us a win.”

 

 

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