Congratulations go out from BallinEurope to Beşiktaş Milangaz, winners of the 2011-12 FIBA EuroChallenge title with a 91-86 victory over Elan Chalon last night. The win represents not only advancement to Eurocup play for 2012-13, but also Turkey’s second-ever European club championship: An Efes Pilsen side led by Conrad McRae, Petar Naumoski and Ufuk Sarıca ultimately hoisted the 1996 Korać Cup.
BiE fave Pops Mensah-Bonsu earned MVP honors – and the sobriquet of “Mr. Double-Double” – with a monstrous 26-point, 20-rebound effort in the final match.
Official writeup and videos follow.
(FIBA Europe) – Turkey has waited a long time for a European trophy to come home. Besiktas Milangaz ended that drought, emerging on top in a pulsating EuroChallenge final to defeat Elan Chalon 91-86 in Debrecen.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 26 points and 20 rebounds and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, but it was a collective effort. Zoran Erceg had 25 and 15 and stood tall so often. Others stepped forward at crucial times.
Chalon, in their second continental final, fought valiantly until the very end. Ultimately, they did not have quite enough and came up just short.
It would have been worse, however.
When David Hawkins sent Beşiktaş ahead at 15-3 midway through the opening quarter, Chalon were stopped in their tracks and struggled to make an impact.
They needed patience, but also ignition, to edge back into contention. Emboldened after their achievements at home and abroad this season, they declined to relent.
Trailing 32-15 after Besiktas hit five consecutive points at the start of the second period, French international Steed Tchicamboud sparked his side belatedly into action as Blake Schilb broke free of his shackles.
The American found Michel Jean-Baptiste-Adolphe open for a lay-in that capped a 7-1 run and closed the gap to just 42-38.
Hope was restored. Confidence remained. And the 44-40 deficit at halftime looked far from unsurmountable. So it proved.
Chalon rattled off seven unanswered points to sweep ahead 55-53 with 1:40 left in the third quarter as Besiktas felt the heat.
The Pro A side had the momentum in their favour and belief ran through their veins. Fighting for every loose ball, battling for each open shot, their push was relentless but ultimately, it came up short.
Erceg sent the Turks into the fourth period with a 57-55 advantage and although Abdul Aminu levelled once more, Chalon would never lead again: A 7-0 run thereafter put them into a 62-57 hole and there was no way out.
Carlos Arroyo dropped two long-range bombs within 90 seconds and his team began to exhale when they pulled into the clear at 82-70 with 2:03 left.
Tchicamboud, who hit a team-high 19 points, attempted to spark one last brave rally but it was too tough to ask as Besiktas completed their mission from the foul line and the celebrations began.