By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Adrien Moerman nailed five shots from deep on his way to 21 points along with eight rebounds while Tibor Pleiss notched a double-double with 21 points and 12 boards. Shane Larkin helped with 19 points.
For Baskonia, Luca Vildoza scored 23 points followed by Shavon Shields’ 16 and Johannes Voigtmann and Jalen Jones’ 13 points each.
Both teams locked in right from the start, especially from behind the arc as they combined for 14 triples in the first half on 50+ percent shooting. Voigtmann and Vildoza scored 12 points each with the latter shooting perfectly and pushed Baskonia to 53-48 at the end of a highly effective first half.
“We played a perfect game tonight offensively. Only in the second quarter, we didn’t spend enough energy for defense but it’s normal because its difficult to the find motivation to put hustle in this kind of game which wont change your situation. I’m sorry for Baskonia but we came here, played fair basketball and we showed that we are a candidate for the Final Four and I hope to come back here in May”, coach Ergin Ataman said.
The squads kept pretty much the same rhythm after the break although they ‘cooled off’ on long-range shots. Efes adopted better led by Moerman who hit the 16-point mark and Pleiss who reached the double-double giving the Turkish squad a 74-67 advantage in front of the final ten minutes. Baskonia managed to cut the gap to just two points (78-76) but Efes made a furious 13-2 run from which the Spaniards couldn’t recover.
Coach Velimir Perasovic was sorry the team couldn’t secure the playoff spot tonight: “I’d like to apologize that we can’t actually celebrate qualifying for the top 8 this evening. Efes played an excellent game, they dominated, especially in the fourth quarter. We got close to two points, to compete but then we didn’t have any answer to their fluid game. We wanted but we just couldn’t.”
Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines EuroLeague