National Cups decided across Europe

By Jon-Arne Molbeensen

Real Madrid’s Kings Cup success over Barcelona was not the only major cup competition to be played out over the past weekend.

Across Europe, teams mainly from the Euroleague and Eurocup triumphed in their respective competitions, giving them a reward of not only a trophy with the accompanying medals, but also a confidence boost going into their next games.

ZALGIRIS CLAIMS LITHUANIAN CUP

Zalgiris won their first Lithuanian Cup by downing Lietuvos Rytas 82-76.

Rytas stormed out of the gate with 16-6 lead, but Zalgiris made an 11-0 run early in the second, run which included a triple from Arturas Milaknis, to take the lead for good.

Another run in the second quarter, this time 12-0, with threes from Will Cherry and Edgaras Ulanovas opened a 15-point advantage, and Zalgiris had a deserved 46-32 advantage at the half. After the break, Rytas came within 57-53 late in the third, but that’s as close as it got.

Ulanovas had 16 points and 6 rebounds in victory.

MACCABI DOMINATES IN ISRAEL

Euroleague holders Maccabi Electra breezed to a 42nd Israeli Cup by beating Hapoel Jerusalem 94-76.

Maccabi’s win was centred around the third quarter and a pair of big runs that turned a slim lead into an 18-point advantage, which paved the way to victory.

Jerusalem did open the game with an 11-2 lead, but Jeremy Pargo and Sylven Landesberg fueled a 12-2 spurt for Maccabi to go in front.

Both sides traded blows throughout the first half, and Devin Smith, who led the winners with 27 points made sure Maccabi took a 46-42 lead into the break.

Jerusalem got within two early in the third, but Smith scored a put-back-plus-foul and a triple to extend it to 56-46 and from there, the result was never in doubt.

SASSARI RETAINS ITALIAN CUP

Dinamo Sassari made it back-to-back Italian Cup successes by defeating EA7 Milano 101-94.

The winners drained 14 three-pointers as they held three double-digit leads only to see Milano come back and lead each time.

Sassari though showed true character to build another big lead in the final quarter and thanks to Jerome Dyson and David Logan, they held on this time.

Dyson finished with 27 points, while Logan hit 7 triples for 25.

SARIC STARS IN ANADOLU EFES TRIUMPH

Anadolu Efes won its first Turkish Cup in five years by topping Fenerbahce 70-60.

Dario Saric was one rebound off a double-double but settled for 17 points, 9 boards and most importantly: a trophy.

Nikos Zisis got Fenerbahce to within two points at 53-51, but a basket from Thomas Heurtel and a triple from Saric extended the margin to 7 points, before free throws from Saric and Dogus Balbay made it 64-56 with 73 seconds remaining.

STRASBOURG WIN FRENCH CUP AT THE WORLD OF DISNEY

Strasbourg won their first ever French Cup after they held off Le Mans 70-68 in a game played at Disneyland, Paris.

In a tightly contested affair, Louis Campbell hit a triple late on to give Strasbourg a 60-56 cushion.

Antoine Eito answered with a quick basket on the other end, and he later had a chance to win it for Le Mans, but his three-pointer did not find the target.

Antoine Diot had 11 points to lead Strasbourg.

RED STAR CLAIMS HAT TRICK OF SERBIAN CUPS

Red Star Belgrade ousted Mega Leks 80-74 to win its third straight Serbian Cup and fifth overall.

The Euroleague side had to come from behind to achieve it though as Mega Leks enjoyed a 25-16 lead early in the second quarter.

Red Star got a boost from Maik Zirbes inside, and Marcus Williams hit a triple to get to within a point at 29-28, but Nikola Jokic and former Euroleague champ Marko Keselj hit back-to-back threes for Mega, and Jokic added another one from downtown to extend the margin to 42-32.

By the time the third period began, Red Star upped the ante and stepped up their defensive rotation. Causing their rivals into numerous turnovers and once they had the lead, the Cup was going in one direction.

Luka Mitrovic finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes on the floor in a sublime outing for the winners.

ZIELONA GORA WINS POLISH CUP

Zielona Gora won its first ever Polish Cup title after 77-71 win over Rosa Radom in Gdynia.

Rosa Radom used an 8-0 run capped by a basket from Danny Gibson late in the second quarter to take 43-35 lead at the half.

However, Zielona Gora re-took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and holding their counterparts to just 6 points. Aaron Cel sparked a 13-1 run, during which Russell Robinson scored 8 points, including two triples for a 55-49 Zielona Gora cushion.

The victors then went on to score first 7 points of the fourth quarter, with Lukasz Koszarek hitting a three-pointer to cap a 20-1 run for 62-49, with a triple from Przemyslaw Zamojski with 2 minutes to go sealing the Cup at 70-61.

Robinson and Zamojski finished with 18 points each for Zielona Gora.

John Hobbs and info from Euroleague.net contributed to this report.