DKV Joventut is in the ULEB Cup final!
Joventut made it to the ULEB Cup title game for the first time in club history by downing Galatasaray Cafe Crown 90-83 in the first semifinal at Palavela in Turin, Italy on Saturday night. DKV not only has the chance to lift a prestigious title, but will also qualify to the 2008-09 Euroleague with another win in the final tomorrow. Meanwhile, Galatasaray has the chance to return to the ULEB Cup next season if it wins the third place game also tomorrow. Rudy Fernandez led the winners with 27 points. Jan Jagla added 13, Demond Mallet had 11 while Jerome Moiso contributed 9 and 9 rebounds for Joventut, that broke a ULEB Cup record with 37 three-pointers attempted. Robert Hite led Galatasaray with 26 points on 7-for-8 two-pointers. Britton Johnsen added 13, Dee Brown had 10 while Chris Owens pulled down 12 boards. Galatarasay opened the game with a 0-6 run but Mallet and Fernandez stepped up to make Joventut get a double-digit lead, 27-17, after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Pau Ribas gave Joventut a 15-point margin, 34-19. Galatasaray erased its deficit to 47-37 at halftime while Hite, Huseyin Besok and Owens brought their team back in the game, 52-50. Jagla and an unstoppable Fernandez boosted Joventut's lead to 74-62 already in the fourth quarter and even when a triple by Owens got Galatasaray within 76-71, the Ricky and Rudy connection was enough for Joventut to reach the ULEB Cup title game.
Joventut coach Aito Garcia Reneses opted for a small lineup with Lubos Barton at power forward, while Galatasaray did the opposite with Britton Johnsen at small forward. Chris Owens was first to score on a reverse layup before Hite dunked off a steal for a 0-4 Galatasaray lead. Johnsen scored in transition to cap a 0-6 opening run for Galatasaray. Fernandez got Joventut going with a driving basket and soon added a corner triple to make it 5-6. Edu Hernandez-Sonseca stepped up with a layup for Joventut's first lead, but Charles Gaines provided a highlight with a huge alley-oop dunk, good for a 7-9 Galatasaray lead. Demond Mallet struck from downtown and Fernandez sank another corner triple to give Joventut a 13-9 edge. Mallet sank another three-pointer in an 11-0 Joventut run that Barton capped with a put-back layup. Gaines tried to change the momentum with a power layup that Hite followed with a dunk to get Galatasaray within 18-13. Jerome Moiso shined with a put-back dunk that Ferran Laviña followed with a layup for Joventut. Hite kept pacing Galatasaray with a baseline jumper, but Pau Ribas answered from downtown for a 25-15 Joventut lead. Moiso scored in penetration but free throws by Cenk Akyol fixed the score at 27-17 after 10 minutes.
Jagla sank a five-meter jumper for Joventut right at the start of the second quarter that Hite matched with free throws. Jagla stepped up again with a reverse layup that made Galatasaray call timeout at 31-19. Ricky Rubio fed Ribas for his second three-pointer off another Joventut steal, providing the high lead of the first half, 34-19. Huseyin Besok stepped up with a put-back layup while Akyol nailed a running triple to get Galatasaray within 34-24. Hite provided a highlight with an high-flying layup, as Joventut struggled to score until Jagla buried another long jumper. Besok dunked, but Laviña's free throws answered and soon Hernandez-Sonseca shined with a jump hook to restore a 12-point Joventut lead, 40-28. Johnsen struck from downtown for Galatasaray while Brown added a fastbreak layup to get his team within 40-33. After a Galatasaray call timeout, Barton drove for a tough layup, one of Joventut's only inside baskets until then, but Owens matched it with a running jumper off a steal. A left-handed layup by Hernandez-Sonseca was matched by Besok scoring inside again before Fernandez beat the buzzer with a triple for a double-digit Joventut margin, 47-37, at halftime.
Hite downed a three-pointer immediately after the break while Johnsen also struck from downtown to bring Galatasaray back in the game, 47-43. Cuneyt Erden fed Johnsen for a two-handed dunk but a long jumper by Mallet kept Joventut ahead, 50-45. Hite buried another triple while Moiso took over with a shocking put-back dunk for a 52-48 Joventut lead. Besok sank foul shots while Barton finished an incredible six-chance Joventut offense with a tip-in. Mallet fired in one from downtown to make it a seven-point game, 57-50, at the halfway mark of the third quarter. Galatasaray did not improve its shot selection, however, while Fernandez took over with a layup-plus-foul to make Joventut restore a double-digit lead, 50-40. Joventut was all over the place in defense now while Moiso scored inside to cap a 10-0 run. Hite tried to change things with an alleyoop layup but Laviña matched it with a put-back layup. Brown followed free throws with a driving layup while foul shots by Akyol gave Galatasaray some hope, 66-58. Gaines took over with a tip-in over two defenders but a tip-in by Jagla allowed Joventut to get a 68-60 lead after three quarters.
Jagla kept shining with a three-pointer from the top of the key, as Galatasaray struggled to find open shots early in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Fernandez also struck from downtown to make it a 14-point game, 74-62, with 8 minutes to go. Brown scored in penetration while Owens added free throws, as Galatasaray tried to get back to the game. Fernandez made free throws than Johnsen erased with a fast break layup, while Erden shined with an acrobatic layup to give his team some hope, 76-68. Owens sank a key triple to get Galatasaray even closer, 76-71, with less than 6 minutes remaining. Rubio fed Fernandez for his trademark alleyoop dunk and soon scored around the basket to give Joventut some fresh air, 80-71. Galatasaray called timeout but missed consecutive offenses right when it mattered. Fernandez - who else? - fired in his fifth bomb from downtown to seal the outcome, 83-71. Jagla made free throws on Johnsen's fifth foul and even when Hite kept trying with a three-point play and a bomb from downtown, it was already too late for Galatasaray. All Joventut fans were already celebrating a big win that kept Joventut in search for the ULEB Cup title tomorrow!
Saturday, April 12, 2008