By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Casademont Zaragoza returns to the Basketball Champions League semifinals with hopes to pick up where they left things at last season, after beating Final Eight hosts Nizhny Novgorod 86-78 on Wednesday.
Dylan Ennis powered Zaragoza to the victory with a game-high 26-point performance, along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists and kept his team alive in the fight when Nizhny started trimming the deficit in the fourth quarter. Elias Harris posted 17 points for Luis Casimiro’s squad and Jacob Wiley had 15 points and 7 rebounds.
“We have to stick together as a team, even if we hit adversity at times”, said Harris is his team prepares for the semifinals.
Ennis’ leadership helped the Spanish side stay in control for most of the second half, as they started pulling away with double-digit leads at the beginning of the fourth quarter (71-60, 32′). Quickly enough the Russian side took advantage of Ennis’ rest time to trim the deficit to three points and both teams were set for a thrilling finale.
With Zaragoza up by four points and less than 30 seconds to play, Kasey Shepherd stole the ball and tried to convert for the hosts, though the play ended with a foul on Nicolas Brussino (12 points), who made two crucial free throws to pace his team ahead with a six-point lead in the final 16 seconds.
Andrey Vorontsevich put his experience on display to lead Nizhny with 17 points, 3 rebounds and Sergey Toropov had 15 points, though the tournament hosts couldn’t complete their comeback in the end.
Veteran Evgeny Baburin got the epilogue for the hosts of the Final Eight who couldn’t avoid an early exit.
Later on Wednesday, Zaragoza will know its semifinals opponent, as ERA Nymburk faces Pinar Karsiyaka in the second quarterfinal of the day (20:30 CET).
Watch the post-game press conference:
Photo: Basketball Champions League