By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Playing in the capital of his country, Vasilije Micic broke a 74-74 tie with the game-winning three-pointer as time ran out in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four Semifinal. With 0.2 seconds remaining, the Greek powerhouse was unable to provide a later answer.
“This situation was very similar to our regular-season game when I made a mistake and attacked too early,” Micic noted recalling the Regular Season Round 26 meeting of the two sides in the Peace And Friendship Stadium, decided by Kostas Sloukas at the buzzer, “I think I learned from that decision. I am very happy I made the shot.”
The 2022 Alphonso Ford EuroLeague Top Scorer Trophy recipient ended up with 15 points. Cincinnati-born Shane Larkin threw in 21 points and seven assists. “Big shot. Hometown. Couldn’t write a better script,” he said after the game referring to Micic, “Happy to be back in the Final.”
Elijah Bryant contributed 16 more points. “Elijah stepped up amazingly tonight,” added Larkin, “I have said this last four years, we have a great team and a lot of players that can step up in different times. Tonight, it was Elijah. He played amazingly in his first Final Four.”
With five minutes remaining, Bryant Dunston fouled out. Besides producing 12 points, his solid defensive effort helped rectify early issues regarding matchups in the paint. Chris Singleton followed picking up a fifth personal four with 1:01 left.
On the losing end, Shaquielle McKissic recorded a team-high 12 points. Tyler Dorsey, Kostas Sloukas, and Hassan Martin had 11 points each.
“It is always better to be on the winning side of the buzzer-beating side,” confessed Ergin Ataman acknowledging the solid effort of the opponents and head coach Giorgos Bartzokas, “It was tough luck to them. The Olympiacos fans created a great atmosphere here.”
Moustapha Fall and Kostas Papanikolaou put up seven points each for the Reds winning the first quarter, 21-18. The lead grew to seven points but settled for a one-point advantage at the break. Keeping Efes close, Larkin upped his personal tally to 16 points, including ten in the second period.
Momentum shifted in the third quarter in favor of the team coached by Ataman. Behind an 11-3 sprint, Efes enjoyed a short-lived double-digit margin peaking at 62-51. Completing a 10-point showing in the third quarter, Dorsey tucked in a triple at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 66-63.
“It was a tight game, as we expected it to be,” mentioned Bartzokas painting the picture for his side, “Some decisions, one or two crucial shots, and of course the last one was very tough for us.”
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) May 19, 2022
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net