Sidigas Avellino end Danish fairy tale in Aarhus, qualify for the Final
AARHUS (FIBA Europe Cup) - Sidigas Scandone Avellino became the first team to confirm their spot in the FIBA Europe Cup Final after following up their home win against Bakken Bears with an exciting 82-72 triumph on the road in Denmark on Wednesday.
Having led by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Kyrylo Fesenko-led Italians held off an inspired fightback by the home side to come out on top 157-144 on aggregate.
Turning Point: With 3:39 left on the clock, a Michel Diouf basket had put Bakken Bears up 72-71 on the night but that is exactly where the Danish fairy tale ended, with Avellino rattling off 11 points in a row and holding the hosts scoreless the rest of the way.
Game Hero: Nobody could stop Kyrylo Fesenko down low, with the Ukrainian center collecting 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting in just under 20 minutes of action, while also adding 6 rebounds and a block to his dominant display. During his time on the court, Avellino outscored Bakken Bears by 14 points.
"It was a hell of a game. They made us work for it. It was a really interesting game."Kyrylo Fesenko
Stats Don't Lie: Bakken Bears fell behind big in the first half partly because they couldn't find the target from three-point range. Having missed their first 10 attempts form beyond the arc, they picked it up after intermission and finished the game 8-of-27 from deep after going 6-of-15 in the third and fourth periods.
Bottom Line: No matter who joins Avellino in the Final, Stefano Sacriptanti's side will play the first leg of the title duel at home. Umana Reyer Venezia would have the home-court advantage as the higher-ranked Basketball Champions League side and Donar Groningen as a team that qualified for the Play-Offs via the FIBA Europe Cup Second Round.
They Said: "I am proud of the team. We fought hard the whole tournament, today especially in the second half. Avellino executed better in the end, congratulations to them for reaching the Final. We got tired at the end. I am happy we fought back in the game and actually got the chance progress today." – Bakken Bears forward Darko Jukic
"We are still living the fairy tale, we got more games coming up. It is Hans Christian Andersen's country. We need to suck this up and get it out of the system. We have to regroup tomorrow and get ready for Friday and the fourth semifinal. It will be a slaughterhouse in Naestved Friday and we have to sharpen our knives." – Bakken Bears head coach Steffen Wich
"It was a hell of a game. They made us work for it. It was a really interesting game. We were well prepared and the coaches took out all their small tricks. I am all happy about the game. We showed great effort, especially when we were down at the end. We made some important baskets." – Sidigas Avellino center Kyrylo Fesenko
"Congratulations for Bakken Bears. A team that never gives up. Bears changed the game several times and made it hard for us. It was very difficult in the third period. I am happy for my team and city, it is the first time we play a Final in Europe. We tried to adjust our defense on Diouf who scored a lot in Avellino. Congratulations to the Bears fans, it is a beautiful place to play basketball." – Sidigas Avellino head coach Stefano Sacripanti