EuroLeague Final 1973: Varese win despite extraordinary Belov

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 1973 CSKA Moscow Decade 70 EuroLeague Varese

The competition begins with 27 teams, there were two qualifying rounds from which Ignis Varese was exempted for being the champion of the previous year

In the previous round
CSKA Moscow eliminated Geneva
Olimpia Milan eliminated Wien
Real Madrid eliminated Epping
Maccabi eliminated the BBC Lier
Prague eliminated ASVEL Basket
Red Star eliminated Partizani
Dynamo Bucharest eliminated the Akademik

After the two previous rounds 8 teams played the regular league. They were divided into two groups of four teams of which at the end the first two from each group would go directly to the semi-finals. The competition system played everyone against everyone in a round robin match and the winner by points scored a victory.

RED STAR (2-1)

PRAGUE (0-3)

Once the regular league ended, the semi-finals were played in a roundtrip format in an Italian duel between IGNIS VARESE and OLIMPIA MILAN and CSKA MOSCOW against the RED STAR.

IGNIS VARESE eliminated OLYMPIA MILAN (72-97); (115-110)
CSKA MOSCOW eliminated the RED STAR (90-98); (100-83)

Prior to this year’s final in Liege, few would have bet on Ignis winning, given their erratic campaign in the Italian league. But just as CSKA were the victims of the final two years ago in Antwerp, this time it was the Italians who surprised their rivals with a sensational defence, especially under the boards, which made the phenomenal work of Sergej Belov, scorer of more than half of his team’s points, fruitless.

After a flying start from Ignis (13-2, minute 5), the Soviets began to feel powerless to overcome Italy’s fierce individual defence. Meneghin was a colossus under his hoop and took all the rebounds, while Raga sowed confusion with his baskets and in defence took over from Ossola in marking the fearsome Belov (even at the cost of charging four personnel in the first ten minutes). The Italian team arrived at half-time with a considerable advantage (41-29), a true reflection of their superiority in the game during the first twenty minutes.

In the second half, CSKA attempted to come back from behind to take four points (63-59, min. 34), but it was more the result of Ignis’ relaxation than of good Soviet play. With giant Zharmukhamedov completely cancelled out by Meneghin, the Moscow side came to rely heavily on the inspiration of their best man, Sergej Belov, with little argument for stopping a more balanced Italian side whose play revolved around the magic triangle of Raga-Morse-Meneghin. Knowing their superiority, the Varesinos never lost their nerve and managed to control the score until the final victory.

*Ossola – 6p, 3r.
*Raga – 25p, 3r.
*Morse – 16p, 6r.
*Bisson – 13p, 7r.
*Meneghin – 9p, 4r.
Flaborea – 2p, 2r.
Rusconi – 0p, 1r.
Zanatta – 0p.

*Belov – 34p, 6a.
*Miloserdov – 0p, 2r.
*Kovyrkin – 0p, 3r.
*Kovalenko – 14p, 5r.
*Zharmukhamedov – 4p, 3r.
Edeshko – 6p, 4r.
Petrakov – 6p, 5r.
Djachenko – 2p, 1r.
Kulkov – 0p.