It doesn’t take much time for Shane Larkin to make winning plays for his team.
In the case of Efes’ epic 78-77 win over Pinar Karşıyaka on Sunday, October 10, all he needed was 15 minutes of game time to make a difference.
Despite playing limited minutes while nursing a knee injury, Shane dominated the final minutes of a back-and-forth battle between Efes and Pinar Karşıyaka with two go-ahead layups and the game-deciding defensive stop, pushing Efes to a pristine 3-0 record in the Turkish BSL.
It wasn’t the first time Shane has broken the hearts of the Karşıyaka faithful. He led Efes with 21 points and buried Karşıyaka with a game-winning layup as time expired during the 2019-20 season. This time around, Efes was led in scoring by Tibor Pleiss with 17 points on seven-of-13 shooting while Vasilije Micic added 15 points and a team-high eight assists. But Shane came through in clutch time with all four of his points in the closing minutes.
Efes and Pinar Karşıyaka traded blow after blow throughout the game, with the biggest Efes lead being just five points and the game seeing 24 lead changes.
From the jump, it was an even clash between the two teams, with Efes tying the game up 17-17 late in the first quarter. In the second, Pinar Karşıyaka took control late in the quarter by outscoring Efes 18-11 in the final three minutes of the half and capping off the second quarter with a buzzer-beating three to go ahead 45-43.
Efes took the lead back mid-way through the third quarter, but another strong late-quarter run from Karşıyaka gave them a seven-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
While Pinar Karsiyaka was the better team in the second and third quarter, Efes refused to go down easy, taking control in the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run that ended in a Tibor Pleiss mid-range jumper to take a 71-67 lead with 5:45 left in the game. From there, the game saw five more lead changes, but it was Efes that came out on top in the end thanks to Shane’s clutch performance.
Shane’s first bucket saw him cut through the heart of the defense for an off-balance layup with 2:08 left to give Efes a 74-73 lead.
The second one proved to be the final blow to Karşıyaka, as Larkin took control of the ball with 26 seconds left and Efes down one, and crossed over to his left hand to get to the rim, where he finished with a right-handed finger roll as he fell hard to the floor. It was as gutsy as it gets, and proved to be another career highlight for Shane to add to his collection.
In the final seconds of the game, Karşıyaka had a chance to retaliate, but Shane fought over a screen and stayed in front of guard Tony Taylor, forcing a loose ball, the game-sealing stop that pushed Efes to 3-0 on the season.
Efes will play again on Tuesday, October 12 when they face ASVEL Basket for their third EuroLeague game of the season.