May 19, 2019 / 9:52 PM / 2 months ago

CSKA down Anadolu Efes to win eighth Euroleague title

Basketball - EuroLeague Final Four Final - Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs CSKA Moscow - Fernando Buesa Arena, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - May 19, 2019 CSKA Moscow’s coach Dimitris Itoudis and Kyle Hines celebrate with the trophy. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

VITORIA-GASTEIZ, Spain (Reuters) - CSKA Moscow clinched their eighth Euroleague title with a 91-83 win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul after 20 points each from American forwards Will Clyburn and Cory Higgins in a rip-roaring title showdown on Sunday.

Frenchman Nando De Colo added 15 points for CSKA, who hit eight of their opening 10 three-point attempts and finished on 14 of 22 from long range against a side who were making their maiden Final Four appearance.

Anadolu’s Shane Larkin, who has had spells with several NBA teams, most recently the Boston Celtics, led all scorers with 29 points but lacked support as the Turks hit only 15 of 40 attempts from two-point range and committed costly turnovers.

The Istanbul side raced into a 7-3 lead but immaculate shooting from behind the arc allowed CSKA to finish the first quarter 29-20 ahead, with Higgins netting 11 points.

Anadolu, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, nosed ahead 45-44 shortly after the break but CSKA hit back and stayed in the driving seat for the rest of the contest after a 14-5 run gave them the lead for good.

The Russian side’s Greek coach Dimitris Itoudis heaped praise on power forward Kyle Hines, whose ironclad defense and crunch-time rebounds ground Anadolu’s offense to a halt.

“Kyle is a living legend and I cannot express my gratitude enough for the way he brings this group together,” Itoudis said in a courtside interview.

“In 10 years’ time he will be ready to coach. All the players deserve the credit but this guy stands out,” he added.

Earlier on Sunday, last season’s champions Real Madrid blew away Fenerbahce Istanbul 94-75 in the third-place playoff on the back of 23 points from Mexican center Gustavo Ayon, who nailed all of his 11 shots from the field.

Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris

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