Cajasol Seville played a brilliant game against the host in Treviso and will play its first Eurofinal ever on Sunday. A great work on defense stopped both Smith and Motiejunas and great control of the game led the spanish team to win 63-75.
Cajasol is set for a big showdown against Russian powerhouse Unics in the title game at 20:45 CET tomorrow. Before that, Benetton will play the Third Place game against Cedevita Zagreb at 18:00 CET. Tariq Kirksay paced the winners with 16 points. Louis Bullock and Paul Davis each added 14 while Mindaugas Katelynas had 10 for Cajasol. Massimo Bulleri had 15 for the losers and Stefan Markovic added 13 points for Benetton. Bullock and Katelynas helped Cajasol to get an early 10-17 lead. Hrvoje Peric and Markovic tried to change things for Benetton buy Paul Davis helped Cajasol to keep a 16-22 lead after 10 minutes. A 0-6 run that Davis capped with a dunk boosted the guests’ lead to 21-36 but Brian Skinner and Peric brought Benetton within 33-38 near halftime. An 0-8 run that Juanjo Triguero capped with free throws gave Cajasol a 33-45 lead right after the break. Cajasol improved its margin to 40-55 soon after that but a 10-1 run that Devin Smith capped with a triple brought Benetton within 50-56 after 30 minutes. Kirksay struck twice from downtown and a dunk-and-foul by Davis sealed the outcome, 56-68, as Benetton never recovered. Katelynas needed just 4 seconds to shock the crowd with a reverse dunk that Brian Skinner matched with a mid-range jumper. Cajasol tried to slow down the game tempo in the opening minutes and stayed focused in defense, closing passing lines. Meanwhile, a three-pointer by Bullock gave the guests a 2-5 lead. Alessandro Gentile stepped up with a six-meter jumper that Tomas Satoransky bettered with a triple, good for a 4-8 Cajasol edge. Juanjo Triguero rolled off the pick for a tomahawk dunk but Skinner took revenge with a jump hook. Donatas Motiejunas took over with a driving basket but Tariq Kirksay matched it with an easy layup. Devin Smith hit free throws, as Cajasol had already entered the foul bonus. Bullock made 3-of-3 foul shots and Katelynas buried a step-back jumper for a 10-17 Cajasol lead. Hrvoje Peric split foul shots, as Cajasol struggled to shoot in consecutive possessions. Stefan Markovic banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key and Massimo Bulleri added free throws but Davis and Earl Calloway boosted Cajasol’s lead to 16-22 after 10 minutes.
Bulleri shined with a wild three-point play early in the second quarter, as Benetton switched to a 2-3 zone defense. Davis punished it with free throws but Cajasol picked up 3 team fouls in 42 seconds. Davis stayed on fire with a huge power layup but his team entered the foul bonus with 8:22 left in the first half. Bullock made free throws and Kaloyan Ivanov added a five-meter jumper to make it a double-digit game, 19-30. Smith sank foul shots but Satoransky erased it with a mid-range shot and Ivanov added a big basket in the low post for a 21-34 score. Davis capped a 0-6 run with a fast break dunk off a steal but free throws by Smith and Markovic got Benetton within 25-36. Bullock did not miss from the foul line but Markovic stayed on fire with a driving layup. Cajasol was all over the place in defense but Peric got the crowd even more involved with a power basket off the baseline. Skinner soon added a close jumper to make the guests call timeout at 31-38. Another driving layup by Peric and free throws by Kirksay fixed the halftime score at 33-40.
Katelynas struck from downtown immediately after the break and free throws by Triguero soon made it a 12-point game, 33-45. Benetton kept missing open shots and called timeout to improve its ball circulation. Bulleri nailed a five-meter shot but he didn’t find much help around. Meanwhile, Cajasol tried to run the clock down through an outstanding Satoransky. Triguero hit free throws but a big triple by Bulleri brought Benetton within 38-48. Satoransky split foul shots and Katelynas added a backdoor dunk to keep Cajasol out of trouble, 38-51. Bulleri kept pacing Benetton with free throws but a technical foul on coach Jasmin Repesa allowed Kirksay and Txemi Urtasun to boost the guests’ lead to 40-55. Benetton switched back to its 2-3 zone defense and Peric tried to ignite the hosts’ comeback with a tip-in. Gentile added free throws and an open triple by Markovic brought Benetton within single digits, 47-56. Cajasol kept struggling to score and a three-pointer by Smith set all Benetton fans on fire, 50-56, after 30 minutes.
Both teams struggled to score early in the fourth quarter until Davis split free throws. Gentile bettered that with a driving layup but Kirksay struck from downtown to give Cajasol an eight-point lead, 52-60. Peric buried an acrobatic shot in transition but Bullock stepped up with more free throws. Kirksay buried another three-pointer but an alleyoop layup by Motiejunas kept Benetton as close as 56-65 with under 6 minutes left. Davis provided a highlight with an outstanding dunk-and-foul, as Cajasol kept running the game clock down. Greg Brunner made free throws but Triguero gave Cajasol a 58-69 margin with 2 minutes left. Cajasol kept using long possession but a coast-to-coast layup by Markovic kept Benetton within 60-69 with 1:34 to go. A free throw by Kirksay sealed the outcome, 60-70, allowing all Cajasol fans to celebrate arguably one of the biggest wins in club history!