A 100-94 win over AS Monaco saw AEK capture the FIBA Basketball Champions League crown for the first time in club history…
AEK secured their first-ever FIBA Basketball Champions League title on Sunday NIGHT following a 100-94 win over AS Monaco at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall in Athens.
With the support of the partisan crowd, AEK managed to hold-off a late Monaco comeback in the fourth quarter to capture their first European silverware since the start of the new millennium.
AEK’s Mike Green stepped up with his best performance in an AEK jersey as he notched 18 points to lead AEK scorers; a key contribution for the Enosi with FIBA Champions League MVP Manny Harris limited to just 8 points on the evening.
Dusan Sakota was also immense for the Athenians as he tallied 8 points on the night, including two vital three-pointers that kept Monaco at a distance when the French club threatened to close-in on AEK on the scoreboard.
Despite sharpshooting from Sergiy Gladyr, who tallied 11 points off the bench for the principality club, Monaco were unable to dominate on the scoreboard as the French side struggled to contain AEK’s potent offense.
Elmedin Kikanovic finished as Monaco’s leading scorer on the night with 12 points, though the Bosnian’s efforts were overshadowed by AEK’s depth in scoring.
Unlike on Friday night when AEK were forced to rely more on their defense to secure a semi-final win over UCAM Murcia, the Athenian side appeared to be scoring at will right from tip-off. A 29-20 run in the opening frame gave AEK control right from the get-go as Dragan Sakota’s men immediately showed their scoring ability in the first quarter.
While there was no stopping the home crowd from their electric support inside the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall, Monaco did put the brakes on AEK’s dominance in the second frame as the French side slowly cut into AEK’s lead early in the second frame.
AEK would respond before halftime to restore their nine-point lead as clutch shooting from Sakota was just one of AEK’s resilience in the quarter.
Staring at a 53-44 deficit heading into the third quarter, Monaco began their rally in the third quarter as the French side enjoyed their best 10-minute stretch of the night with a 26-20 run in the third frame.
With the AEK lead diminished to just three points heading into the fourth quarter, AEK fans watched nervously as their side looked to add some insurance in the final frame.
AEK’s potent offense took the spotlight early on in the fourth quarter as the Enosi padded their lead to as much as 12 points. Despite the setback on the scoreboard, Monaco continued to rally and chip away at AEK’s lead.
Despite a handful of sloppy turnovers towards the latter part of the fourth quarter, a couple of clutch free throws from Delroy James in the dying moments sealed the win as Monaco failed to take advantage of AEK’s generous turnovers.
The win sees AEK capture their first-ever FIBA Champions League crown in just the second edition of the competition. AEK now joins last year’s winners Iberostar Tenerife, who hosted last year’s Final Four en route to winning the title, as the only winners of the competition.
Meanwhile, Monaco’s misery in the competition continues after the French side became the first side to reach back-to-back Final Four’s without winning the title.
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