By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexey Shved went all-guns-blazing with game-highs 36 points and five assists, as Khimki Moscow beat Unics Kazan 76 – 71 in the second semifinal of the VTB League Final Four to advance in the title game.
Khimki will face CSKA Moscow, that routed Zenit St. Petersburg in the first semifinal, for the championship title on Sunday (10/6).
The qualification of Khimki also granted them a spot to 2018-2019 EuroLeague. Per the agreement between EuroLeague and VTB League, each season’s champion plays in season’s EuroLeague. However, when one of the finalists is CSKA Moscow (already a lock for EuroLeague due to their closed contract), the other team is automatically given the ticket to the top-tier continental competition.
And as it happens in 2016-2017, this team is Khimki Moscow. Mainly thanks to Shved’s feats.
The Russian combo guard had already scored 21 points at halftime to put Khimki up 38 – 32. Unics didn’t manage to get closer than three points but remained dangerous. Then at the mid of the fourth period, Shved dropped seven consecutive points to hand his team a 69 – 58 lead.
Charles Jenkins followed with a 3-pointer but Unics fought back from the 14-point deficit with a 10-0 run for the 72 – 68 with 38 seconds left. Jenkins then made a layup plus a pair of free throws to make his points 12 and finish the job for Khimki.
Unics, that had completed the regular season with an impressive 22-2 record, will play in the third-place game against Zenit St. Petersburg. Jamar Smith scored 23 points and dished out four assists, Stephane Lasme contributed a double-double of 13 points plus 12 rebounds while Quino Colom had 13 points for the team from Kazan.