Pamesa Valencia won Group D by rallying to edge Khimki 63-60 at home on Tuesday. Both teams tied for first place in Group B with a 7-2 record, so it all came down to tie-breakers. Khimki had beaten Pamesa 81-78 earlier in Group B but Pamesa was first to its higher cumulative score difference for the entire regular season (Pamesa +68, Khimki +59). Dejan Milojevic led the winners with 20 points and 8 rebounds. Fred House added 11 points while Shammond Williams dished 8 assists for Pamesa. Maciej Lampe led Khimki with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Kelly McCarty added 14 points while Vitaliy Fridzon and Anton Ponkrashov each had 11 for the guests, who dominated the game in the opening half. Ponkrashov stroke twice from downtown in a 0-13 run that gave Khimki a 4-19 run, while McCarty buried a 20-meter bomb for a 10-22 margin after 10 minutes. Lampe and Ponkrashov allowed Khimki to keep a 23-35 halftime margin, but Pamesa improved its defense after the break and found ago-to guy in Milojevic, who led the hosts to a 48-41 edge after 30 minutes. It all came down to the final 2 minutes, as Lampe made free throws for a 61-58 Khimki deficit, just one point away from winning Group D. House and Fridzon traded baskets and Pamesa managed to move around the ball in the final 14 seconds to become the Group D champion and become a top-seeded team in the ULEB Cup elimination rounds draw.
Lampe got Khimki going with a turnaround jumper that Daniel Ewing followed with a jumper before picking his third foul. Ponkrashov came off the bench and buried a triple, igniting a 0-13 Khimki run in which McCarty and once again Ponkrashov stroke from downtown for a 4-19 margin. Pamesa had only scored from the foul line, missing 7 shots and committing 8 turnovers in the process until Williams stepped up with a fast break dunk. Free throws by Albert Oliver and an incredible 20-meter triple by McCarty fixed the score at 10-22 after 10 minutes. Lampe and Fridzon stepped up with consecutive baskets to keep Khimki ahead, 13-26, early in the second quarter, as Vladimir Veremeenko left the game with a hand injury. Khimki kept dominating the game with outstanding defense. Mindaugas Timinskas tried to change things for Pamesa but another triple by Ponkrashov helped Khimki to keep a 12-point lead, 23-35, at halftime. Stanko Barac had a jump hook while Milojevic added consecutive baskets to bring Pamesa within 29-35 right after the break. Milojevic added a power layup to cap a 0-8 run and soon added another basket for a 33-37 Pamesa deficit. Khimki struggled to score now, while Barac and free throws by Milojevic and House tied the game at 39-37, after a 14-2 run. House buried a triple, Milojevic scored inside while Ewing fouled out late in the third quarter. Once again House gave Pamesa a 48-41 edge after 30 minutes. Lampe buried a triple early in the fourth quarter but Oliver and Milojevic boosted Pamesa's lead to 53-44. Three-pointers by Fridzon and Lampe gave Khimki some hope at 56-50. Williams soon joined the three-point shootout but another basket by Lampe and free throws by McCarty got the guests within 61-56 with 2 minutes to go. Lampe made free throws but House beat the shot clock buzzer with a key basket. Fridzon scored with 14 seconds remaining but Pamesa managed to keep possessions to win Group D.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008