SPORTS

AEK sees off the Greens to set up Cup final with Olympiakos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Basketball

AEK upset Panathinaikos and will face Olympiakos in the Greek Cup final in February, after the semifinals that took place on Sunday.

AEK was the host at the knock-out semi played at the Olympic Sports Hall and won 73-69 to book its place in its first final since 2001.

It capitalized on the numerous turnovers of the holders who just like three days earlier at Baskonia in the Euroleague surrendered a four-point lead (54-50) to chase its host in the final minutes.

AEK held on even when the Greens went within one point (69-68) and completed the most important win of its recent history. It had Manny Harris score 20 points, while Nikos Pappas scored 14 for Panathinaikos that, will miss out of the final for the first time after 13 years.

Olympiakos may have been tired from its game at Barcelona less than 48 hours earlier, but it managed to overcome the strong resistance of host Aris 56-49.

The Reds owe their victory to Janis Strelnieks whose triples kept them in contention when Aris had overturned a 10-point deficit (26-36) to lead 40-37. Strelnieks made one three-pointer after another to reach 11 points in the game, the same as Nikola Milutinov.

Kwame Vaughn made 15 points for Aris, that was let down by its shooting rates.

The final will take place on February 17 at Iraklio, on Crete.

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