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.
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 defence and crunch-time rebounds ground Anadolu’s offence 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 centre Gustavo Ayon, who nailed all of his 11 shots from the field.