By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Thanks to a strong second half, Mega Mozzart prevailed 82 – 61 over the U18 Next Generation Select Team (coached by EuroLeague legend Vassilis Spanoulis) to claim its first-ever Adidas Next Generation Tournament crown.
Per EuroLeague Basketball:
It was third time lucky for the Serbian team, which had lost in the finale in 2017 and 2019 but gained control of the game in the Hala Sportova Ranko Zeravica with a 14-0 fourth quarter run. Nikola Djurisic scored 10 of his team-high 21 points in the big late run. Andrija Jelavic tallied 19 points and Bassala Bagayoko collected 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks for the new champion. Zacharie Perrin and Filip Jovic both scored 11 points in the losing effort.
In the annuls of ANGT history, Mega joins other champions U18 Real Madrid, U18 CSKA Moscow (both three crowns), U18 Zalgiris Kaunas, U18 FMP Belgrade, U18 PFYM INSEP Paris, U18 Rytas Vilnius (all two), U18 FC Barcelona, U18 Crvena Zvedzda mts Belgrade, U18 KK Zagreb and U18 Joventut Badalona.
Mega scored the first four points on layups by Jelavic and Djurisic. NGS failed to execute early on with four turnovers in its first six possessions before Perrin scored after more than 2 minutes. The selection team took its first lead on a Zinedin Mulic three-pointer for 8-9. The lead changed hands four times – once each on triples by Djurisic and Mohamed Diawara – and it was 13-14. Mega was facing foul trouble at this point with four players on two fouls and also failed to score for the final 2:46 minutes of the first quarter and a second Mulic triple made it 13-19 after 10 minutes.
After Alexandros Samontourov scored to open the second quarter, Bagayoko hit on Mega’s first possession and it was 15-19. NGS picked up three points on an unsportsmanlike foul as the lead extended to 17-26. Bagayoko countered with two baskets as the score was 23-28 when NGS took advantage of its strength on the glass with four offensive rebounds which resulted in dunks by Perrin and Pacome Dadiet and a three-pointer from Jovic to push the advantage to 25-37. Andrej Musicki responded with a three-pointer and helped Mega close strong and go into the locker room down 32-39.
Timotej Malovec’s three-pointer started the second half for Mega but a Perrin putback and Jovic triple had NGS ahead 40-44. Mega mounted a run though with Musicki scoring five points and Bagayoko picking up four in a 9-0 spurt to lead 49-44. A Jelavic three-point play extended the margin to 57-49 and the score was 57-51 after 30 minutes.
NGS tried to close the gap with Samet Yigitoglu scoring twice inside and it was down to 60-55. Djurisic was not ready to let Mega lose a third ANGT Championship Game, hitting a jumper, a three-pointer, two layups and a free throw within six possessions as the lead ballooned to 74-55 with just 5 minutes left. The game was decided as Mega took away precious seconds with each possession down the stretch and the party in Belgrade was bound to be the pink of Mega.
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball