AEK hold on to book spot in Champions League Final
FIBA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - FINAL-4
|AEK||77 - 75||UCAM Murcia|
|(18 - 17)
(40 - 34)
(55 - 54)
(77 - 75)
Despite letting a 15-point lead slip, AEK managed to clinch a berth in Sunday’s FIBA Basketball Champions League Final with a win over UCAM Murcia…
AEK are through to the FIBA Champions League Final following a nervy 77-75 win over UCAM Murcia in Friday’s second semi-final at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall.
Manny Harris poured in 20 points to lead AEK to victory in front of the home crowd as the Enosi took one step closer to securing their first-ever triumph in the competition proper.
Kevin Punter added 16 points for AEK off the bench, while Dusan Sakota notched 15 points despite not starting the game.
Murcia, who fought back from a 15-point deficit, were led by Vitor Benite’s 19-point effort before the Brazilian fouled out late in the game.
Meanwhile, Murcia’s point guard, Clevin Hannah, notched 17 points as Murcia gave a good account of themselves in just the second-ever European campaign for the Spanish club.
AEK opened up a slim lead in the first quarter as the Athenians grabbed an 18-17 lead after the first frame, only to add to their advantage in the second frame.
A 22-17 run in the second quarter saw AEK’s lead grow to 40-34 by halftime as the Enosi still had work to do in the second half to secure passage to Sunday’s Final.
AEK’s path to the Final became much harder when Murcia rallied for a 20-15 run in the third quarter as the Spanish side showed great resilience to cut AEK’s lead to 55-54 heading into the final frame.
Despite a strong start to the fourth quarter, Murcia rallied once again to set-up a nervy finish in the Greek capital as Murcia came within a possession of tying the game.
After missed free throws by both sides, Murcia grabbed the last possession off a missed free throw with a handful of seconds left on the clock, but the Spanish side couldn’t execute a play off the rebound as the buzzer sounded to the delight of the home crowd.
A brief brawl broke out on the court as Murcia fans protested to the referee that AEK fouled on the last play, but there was no decision to review the play by the referees as AEK players began to celebrate their latest achievement.
The win sets up a meeting with AS Monaco in Sunday’s Final, while Murcia will face MHP Riesen Ludgwigsburg in Sunday’s Consolation Final.