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Albert Schweitzer Tournament 2014: Finals

April 26th, 2014 · No Comments

The last day of the Albert Schweitzer Tournament 2014 has featured the 8 best teams competing against each other in a well filled GBG Halle in Mannheim. Here are our thoughts on these 4 last games.

Germany – Spain 68 – 53

Germany  had the better start into the game for the 7th place as they managed to keep the best Spanish scorers quiet in the first minutes. But in the last minutes of the first quarter, Spain could reduce the gap with Marc Garcia finding open positions. However Luis Figge, who did a good defensive job on Garcia, scored a three-pointer from the corner to give Germany a 18-13 lead at the first break. Spain came back in the early second quarter but Germany continued to control the game speed again as Lars Kamp and Jakob Merz knocked down their shots from outside while Niklas Kiel did his job in the paint. Yankuba Sima helped Spain to remain in the game with a three-point shot and Marc Bauza scored a fast break layup to bring the score to 35-30 at the halftime.

Germany started better into the second half behind good defense of their guards. Kiel dominated the boards and found several ways to finish in the paint or in the fastbreak so that Spain needed a timeout with 3 minutes on the clock as they were trailing 51-36. Sebastian Schmitt though had two nice plays immediately afterwards and brought the score to 55-36 and the game looked to be done already. Spain however managed to score 5 points in a row before the last quarter. The last ten minutes did not change much anymore in the game as Germany controlled the tempo and managed to keep Spain away by playing good defense on Garcia who looked more and more frustrated down the stretch.

MVP: Niklas Kiel 12pts, 18reb

Sweden – Ukraine 81 – 75

The game started a bit sloppy with both teams missing a couple of shots. Ludde Hakanson was not yet ready as he could not connect on his attempts and got blocked when he attacked the rim. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk had a nice three pointer so that the game remained tied during the first five minutes. Ukraine got a small advantage through a 14-4 run but Sweden closed the gap quickly behind 5 points in a row by Sharrif Drammeh so that the score at the first break was 21-19 in favor of Ukraine. Sweden turned the game around as Hakanson made two three pointers and they found their big man Mattias Markusson in the paint. Mykhailiuk had three fouls and it was the guard Maksym Miroshnichenko who took over the most scoring.  The Scandinavians managed to keep the difference up at 8 points at the halftime break even with Hakanson on the bench.

Ukraine immediately reduced the gap to four points to start the second half but Hakanson found his team mates in good positions. Mykhailiuk was in the game as well and the overall level of the match was rising. Oleksandr Kobets scored 5 points while Hakanson continued to dish out more assists. Samuel Berkelund had a good run for Sweden with a triple and a put back to give his team a five point lead again before the last break. Erik Johansson made his little run to start the last last quarter with two corner threes in a row and the Ukrainian coach needed a timeout after only one minute. Mykhailiuk got quickly called for his fourth foul but Kobets with his 3rd triple kept Ukraine alive at 67-61 five minutes before the end. Sweden struggled against the Ukrainian zone but Hakanson found an opening from behind the arc in transition. The Barcelona guard played totally his leader role knocking down yet another shot from the corner and Sweden was up by 9 with 90 seconds left to play. Ukraine had a last run to cut the difference to only 3 points with 18 seconds left in the game but it was too late.

MVP: Ludde Hakanson 20pts, 5rebs, 7asts

Turkey – Serbia 70 – 76

Turkey started well into the game as Furkan Korkmaz netted his first attempt from the corner and Tolga Gecim found his big man on the Pick and Roll play. Serbia tried a lot of 1-1 stuff with Stefan Lazarevic that was not so successful. As Korkmaz continued to attack the basket hard on his left hand, the Serbian coach was forced to take already his second time out with only 5 minutes played. The Serbian game was then a lot better with Lazarevic pushing the ball up court and Stefan Peno making the corner three to bring the score to 17-11. Turkey was forced to take a timeout as the Serbian defense denied most of their attempts and the team from the Balkan could run several fastbreaks to cut the lead before the first break.

The second quarter started with several quick plays by Serbia and they took over the lead after their sloppy start as the Turkish transition defense was not really present. With Gecim on the bench, the Turkish game was not as structured anymore and Serbia could even create a larger lead as Danilo Ostojic showed his versatility. Even with Gecim back, Turkey was still unable to score despite having open shots from outside but Serbia missed several free-throws that would have given them a bigger advantage. Even if Gecim scored the first Turkish points of the second quarter from the free-throw line, Serbia was more alert and had more fast break opportunities to go up by 6 points at halftime.

Serbia increased their lead with a 10-0 run to start the second half on multiple fast breaks where Lazarevic showed his ability to push the basketball full court. Turkey looked totally lost with a lot of individual attempts that missed and Serbia could continue to run the break to get up to a 20 point lead with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Turkey did not give up though and Okben Ulubay tried to take over the leadership role for his team and he found the way to the basket several times to score from close. Ulubay knocked down a long two just before the quarter buzzer and the we had a game again as the score was 55-45 in favor of Serbia before the last 10 minutes.

Egemen Güven imposed his length to start the fourth quarter with a nice finish off the glass and a rejection on defense. Ulubay added some free-throws to reduce the gap to only 6 points but Jovan Starincevic had an important three-pointer to bring the difference back to double-digits. Korkmaz answered though with a nice three and Ege Arar scored with the foul so that Turkey kept the hope alive five minutes before the end. Starincevic, Gecim and Peno exchanged the long distance shots but 2 minutes before the end there was still a 7 point difference. Starincevic added an acrobatic finish on the drive to give Serbia a 9 point lead 100 seconds before the end and Turkey was unable to inbound the ball out of the timeout taken by their coach. They stole the ball twice though afterwards and came back to –5 with 50 seconds left on the clock. Turkey was unable though to cut the deficit completely and Serbia finished the tournament at the third place.

MVP: Stefan Lazarevic 20pts, 7rebs, 3asts

Italy – USA 86 – 73

Both teams opened their score by going through their top scorer as Ethan Happ finished in the low post and Frederico Mussini knocked down a triple out of the dribble. Nobody could create an early lead until Team USA got a slight advantage five minutes into the game behind the good work on the offensive glass of Happ. The Italians looked a bit afraid by the American length in the paint and mainly shot from outside where Mussini kept them in the game. The entry of Andrea La Torre gave Italy 5 quick points as the left handed wing scored a three-pointer and a layup on the fast break. But the US team answered with two triples on their own to go back to their 6 point advantage. The game was a three-point shootout and the North Americans finished the first quarter on a 26-22 lead.

Italy played without any real organization on offense when Mussini was on the bench but the USA could not use this in order to get a bigger lead. On the defensive end though, USA came up with changing defenses that the Italians were unable to break. Elijah Burns added another layup on the drive with the foul so that his team went up to +8 with 5 minutes played in the second quarter. Scott Lindsey protected the basket well with his vertical presence and Italy could not find offensive options in the second  quarter. However, the Italians managed to stop the American offense and could reduce the difference to only 6 points at halftime by closing the way to the basket on their end.

Italy came out hot from the break and closed the gap immediately by playing good defense and finishing in the paint. Mussini brought the lead back to Italy with one of his floating jump shots and a put back. The tiny guard was on fire as he added another three-point bomb with the foul to give Italy a 6 point lead. Mike Williams helped the US in his role as designated shooter to stop the Italian euphoria and we had a real basketball game with five minutes played in the second half. Both teams continued to exchange baskets and Lindsey knocked down the mid-court buzzer beater to tie the game before the last quarter.

Italy created a small lead out of the break but both teams struggled with their offense. Austin White tied the game again with an and 1 play. The offenses remained sloppy in this last quarter as the decision came closer who would be the winner of the 2014 edition of the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Mussini then stole a ball on the three point line and finished on the break despite the return of Happ and gave Italy a 5 point advantage with 4 minutes to play. The Americans had problems to score a basket as they turned the ball over too easily or missed their finishes on the break. Daniel Donzelli added another triple to give Italy a 7 point lead that looked like the decision. Diego Flaccadori and Mussini did their job from the free-throw line and they made probably one of the most surprising winners in the history of the tournament.

MVP: Frederico Mussini 20pts, 7rebs, 6asts

All-Tournament Team

  • Frederico Mussini (ITA)
  • Ludde Hakanson (SWE)
  • Stefan Lazarevic (SRB)
  • Ethan Happ (USA) – MVP
  • Egemen Güven (TUR)

Most promising player: Nicholas Aguirre (CHI)

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