Can it all be over so quickly? February Madness peaked this weekend in Europe, with several domestic cup tournaments being played out and celebrations aplenty. BallinEurope this morning provides a rundown of the action – and, naturally, video clips. Without further ado, then, let’s look in on the insanity.
• To no one’s surprise, Spanish superpowers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid indeed met in the Copa del Rey final with La Blaugrana overcoming their rivals playing on their home court, 68-60. Check out, as the league’s official website, says a collection of clips including “Alley oops terribles de [Boniface] N’Dong y [Fran] Vázquez, mate furioso de Clay Tucker, D’Or Fischer que pone el candado a su aro … ¡Mucha diversión en la Final!”
Slightly surprising, especially given the number of household names on Barça, was Alan Anderson’s unstoppable performance: The former Charlotte Bobcat/Cibona Zagreb/Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman topped his 17-point showing against Caja Laboral Baskonia with a huge 19 against Real … and tournament MVP honors.
• Anything less surprising than the Spanish matchup? Sure! There’s always the anti-climactic Lithuanian Cup final, certain to feature Žalgiris Kaunas and Lietuvos Rytas: After all, all five editions of the LKF Cup have pitted the two Euroleague squads against one another. This year, it was Žalgiris 80, L.Rytas 69, with Travis Watson pacing the winners with 16 points.
• At least the Türkiye Kupasi typically produces an interesting finals matchup: Despite the perpetual dominance of TBL ball by the two big Euroleague sides, Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahçe Ülker haven’t met for the Cup championship game since 2006; they’ve only clashed in the final game of this tournament four times since its inception in 1967.
This time around, the surprise entry was Beşiktaş Cola Turka, who managed to upend Efes Pilsen in round one and survive Trabzonspor in the second to earn the right to face off against traditional superpower Fenerbahçe.
Still without Allen Iverson, the Eagles got monster games from Mire Chatman (22 points on 9-of-16 overall shooting) and A.J. Ogilvy. The Australian went for 24 points, including an incredible 16-of-18 on free throws; the other 11 Beşiktaş players combined for exactly 0-for-1 from the ‘stripe.
Fenerbahçe proved to have too much for the upstarts, however, posting an 81-72 win for the team’s third ‘Cup and second consecutive.
The bad news for Fenerbahçe, of course, is that the war may have been lost in this possibly pyrrhic victory: Mirsad Turkcan suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter that will likely end his 2010-11 season and could even keep him out of Eurobasket 2011.
Anyway, so here’s a crushing jam by Tarance Kinsey from the game.
And the party thereafter.
Incidentally, here’s a featurette on Beşiktaş’ new addition, Marcelus Kemp, with highlights from The Eagles’ 90-88 squeaker over Trabzonspor in the Kupasi quarterfinals. All Beşiktaş’ import did in his second game was go for 19 points and three assists to push the Black-and-White into the final match.
In the final, Kemp showed a bit more evidence of rust, managing just 4-of-13 overall shooting and committing five fouls in 27½ minutes of court time; he’s managing just a 33% overall success rate in three games thus far.
In the first-ever Polish Cup, meanwhile, Polpharma emerged as champions in beating Eurocup side Anwil Wloclawek, 75-67; this just one day after a buzzer-beating win over Euroleaguers Asseco Prokom. Not too much in the way of highlights has been posted to YouTube, but we do have the view from a courtside seat (over 20 minutes of it!) at the Prokom game.
And the post-game celebration…
Finally, to Italy. Stop BiE if you’ve heard this one before: The Coppa Italia in 2011 was once again a race for second place; this year, the metaphorical silver went to Bennet Cantù, who lost to good ol’ Montepaschi Siena in the finals, 79-72. It’s the third-straight Coppa for MPS and the second consecutive championship game win over Cantù; Cantù has thrice finished runner-up in the tournament.