Krasnye Krylia Samara have been crowned Eurochallenge champions after they came from behind to defeat hosts Pinar Karsiyaka 77-76 in a thrilling contest in Izmir.
Pinar Karsiyaka were up by as many as 17 points in the third quarter before DeJuan Collins led his side to an improbable comeback, helped by back-to-back three-pointers from Chester Simmons, who won the game’s MVP award.
It was Lamayn Wilson who had the last laugh though, as his free throw won the Russian side the game and the Eurochallenge title.
Both Collins and Simmons led their side with 18 points while Andre Smith added 14.
Robert Dixon led Pinar Karisyaka’s cause with 23 points.
After a close first quarter, which the Turkish side edged 20-17, they raced to a 23-11 run to lead 46-34 at the break. The 5,000 fans inside the Karisyaka Arena were jubilant.
However, the Russians were not out of contention and, led by Collins and superb post play from Smith, they narrowed the gap to just one point at 55-54 after three quarters, a 20-9 run after ten minutes.
The side from Izmir fought back to give themselves some breathing space again with a dunk from Maxim Mutaf giving them a 60-54 lead.
Samara came back though and eventually tied the game at 71-71 with a big three from Collins. And when it mattered, they held their nerve in the last seconds to seal what looked to be an unlikely win.