INSEP Paris is the first finalist of the Belgrade NIJT Qualifying Tournament after pulling out 63-70 overtime win over Mega Vizura Belgrade. It is the second consecutive win for the French side in the tournament, and it will play either Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade or Cedevita Zagreb in the finals on Sunday. INSEP led for most of the clash, with the biggest lead being 20-29 in the second quarter. Radovan Djokovic rallied Mega to 30-34 at halftime, but INSEP kept the lead until midway through the fourth quarter, and Djokovic’s three for 52-51. Teams traded leads in the final minutes, and Djokovic sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws, 58-58. In the extra session, Stephane Gombauld scored 7 of his 18 points, and Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot hit a key three-pointer to put INSEP up for good. Gombauld had 11 rebounds and 3 steals in addition to leading the winners in scoring, Eliezer-Vanerot netted 17, Ywen Smock had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists, while Lucas Dussoulier finished with 10 points for INSEP. On the other end, Djokovic had game-high 20 points as the only one in double digits for Mega. Nikola Pavlovic amassed 9 points plus 13 rebounds in defeat.
Eliezer-Vanerot and Smock put INSEP in front early, and while Mega got points from Matija Popovic and Stefan Simic, a layup from Dussoulier gave INSEP 8-12. Gombauld made his presence felt inside, scoring 5 points, but Djokovic and Aleksa Koracin kept Mega within 18-19 after the first quarter. INSEP remained in front with its protection of the rim, while Dussoulier from long range, and Elie Fedensieu and Smock from close range helped extend it to 20-29. Gombauld added a basket-plus-foul to the tally, but Djokovic rallied Mega by stringing together 7 points, including a buzzer-beating baseline jumper for 30-34 at halftime.
Defenses dominated in the third quarter, before a triple from Gregory Bengaber made it 34-39. But Djokovic hustled for a put-back, and Andrija Matic and Vuk Karadzic hit triples for 43-43 in the final minute of the third. Eliezer-Vanerot beat the third quarter buzzer with a three-pointer, and Luc Loubaki hit one early in the fourth for 45-51. Mega replied with a 7-0 run, capped with a three-pointer from Djokovic, taking over the lead. In a dramatic finish of the regulation, Elizier-Vanerot hit a triple with 80 seconds to go, Karadzic replied with one from the left corner, and Dussoulier nailed a shot from long range against Mega’s zone defense for 56-58. However, Djokovic tied it from the foul line, sending the game in the overtime. Karadzic made it 61-60 in the extra session, but Gombauld scored 6 points for INSEP which never trailed after that. Eliezer-Vanerot hit from downtown, and Dussoulier banked in a floater with 40 seconds to go, sealing the deal.
Saturday, February 22, 2014