Keravnos failed to make the dream of winning the FIBA EuroCup Challenge a reality. The Cypriot team lost 101-81 in Samara on Thursday (29/3) in the second final and couldn't defend the 85-83 win in the first game. Disappointment is there but the season is a great success for the Strovolos team who made Cyprus proud with their European appearances. Also the fact that Keravnos won a ticket for next season's FIBA EuroCup through the competition is very positive.
Second half wreck
The second half appearance wrecked Keravnos' chances of winning the title since the 44-45 lead at the end of the half turned into 71-62 a few moments before the end of the third period. The biggest lead for the Russian team came with less than a minute to go when the score was 101-79. The final 101-81 sent the home fans into jubilation for winning the European trophy.
Good Cypriot start
But Keravnos started the game in a much better fashion. The Cypriot team took the lead from the beginning and managed to create a 7 point lead twice while halfway through the second period Keravnos took a 8 point lead 33-41 mainly thanks to King and Kosanovic who had a great appearance.
The first time Samara took the lead was a few seconds to the end of the half when the home side went in front 44-43. But Trisokkas' basket with 2 seconds on the clock gave Keravnos the lead at halftime.
The second part of the match was a nightmare. The last time the Cypriot visitors had the lead was at 51-52 with King. From that point on Samara took control and with some great shooting from the three-point line (the Russians finished the game with 13/23 efforts) managed to slowly built a good lead.
Keravnos' last effort to return in the game came with a couple of minutes remaining in the third period. The 68-57 lead for Samara was turned into a 68-62 deficit thanks to Kosanovic and Trisokkas. Along with the two-point win a week earlier in Cyprus it was 4 points behind for Keravnos. But Samara quickly retook a comfortable lead and when the score board showed 81-66 for the home side three minutes into the last period it was all over.
For the rest of the game the home side gave the chance to their fans to cheer the European trophy and even finished the game with a big 20 point win.
Shabalkin with 24 points and 7 rebounds and Gibbs with 21 points and 5 rebounds were the standouts alongside Giorgos Diamantopoulos who scored 22 points with 6 rebounds, covering for Cook who was behind with just 3 points but with a thumping 10 assists.
For Keravnos four players stood out with Victor King scoring 22 points. Panagiotis Trisokkas (206-C-80) scored 15 points and gathered 6 rebounds while Kosanovic added another 16 points. Finally Patrick Lee finished the game with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
Samara's great shooting from the 3-point line and slight lead in rebounding and turnovers gave the win and the trophy to the Russians.
About Keravnos, a successful European campaign comes to an end with next season finding the Strovolos team in the EuroCup probably alongside AEL.
Periods: 24-26, 44-45, 71-64, 101-81
Samara: Gibbs 21 (5), Voronov 15 (1), Shabalkin 24, Strelkin, Zelenskiy 11 (3), Cook 3, Osipov 5, Diamantopoulos 22 (4).
Keravnos: Vidakovic, Trisokkas 15 (1), Makanda 6, Anastasiadis, Erjavec, Lee 13 (1), King 22 (1), Koul 9, Kosanovic 16 (1), Zahariou.