| Asseco Prokom Gdynia is back in the Top 16. Prokom got some help from Real Madrid, which defeated Armani Jeans Milano, and then hung on to beat BC Khimki Moscow Region 75-70 to reach the Top 16 for the fourth time in club history. The win took Prokom’s record to 4-6 – one win more than Milano – for fourth place in Group D. If Milano had beaten Madrid, it would have advanced in Prokom’s place. Khimki, which advanced to the Top 16 last week, finished the regular season with a 6-4 record and in third place in the group. David Logan shined at the start and the finish while a few others did so in between to lift the Polish champs. Logan scored 14 first-quarter points to keep his team going early. Then Daniel Ewing and Adam Hrycaniuk each scored twice in an 11-1 second-quarter run that helped the hosts go ahead 45-29 by halftime. The lead peaked at 17 before Vitaly Fridzon and Kelly McCarty ignited a 0-10 Khimki run that brought the visitors back. Khimki rallied all the way to within 1 to set up a nail-biter in the closing minutes. Ratko Varda impressed with a jumper over Robertas Javtokas and a three from the top of the key to give Prokom a 66-59 cushion with 2:01 to play. And Logan wrapped up the win by going 6 for 6 from the line in the last 45 seconds – just when news of Milano’s loss reached the arena – to allow Prokom to celebrate a return to the Top 16. Logan paced Milano with 24 points, Qyntel Woods added 16 points and 7 rebounds and Ewing had 11 points, 4 assists and 4 steals for the winners. McCarty led Khimki with 22 points and Fridzon followed with 10.
Khimki won the opening tip and Keith Langford attacked the basket for the game’s first points. Logan soon got Prokom on the board with a three off the glass. The hosts showed they were willing to stop the poor-free-throw shooting Javtokas by fouling him, but the price for that was 2 early fouls for Ronnie Burrell. Piotr Szcotka scored on the offensive glass before McCarty and Logan swapped threes. Langford knotted the game from the line at 8-8 and McCarty soon had Khimki ahead the same way. Logan made his third three as Prokom regained the lead. Ewing added to Prokom’s tally before McCarty dished to Javtokas for a power slam. Ewing added free throws and Logan made an acrobatic shot, but Paulius Jankunas muscled his way for a Khimki basket. Jan Jagla rejected Timofey Mozgov‘s slam attempt before Logan continued his excellent opening quarter with a drive. McCarty sank 2 more free throws and Petr Gubanov came off the bench to nail a three and put the visitors ahead, but Woods grabbed Jagla’s missed three and laid it in to make it 22-21 after 10 minutes.
Mozgov scored down low, but Woods shined with an impressive two-handed dunk and Ewing added to Prokom’s lead with a steal and 2 free throws. The momentum was with the hosts as Ewing drew another foul and sank more free throws and Junior Harrington scored and stole the inbounds pass. Langford converted on the offensive glass, but Prokom got another bucket from Ewing and Hrycaniuk made 33-25. Javtokas missed a slam, but got the rebound and salvaged a point from the line. Ewing drove around the Khimki defense for a layup and foul from Javtokas. Even though Ewing missed the free throw, Prokom continued to roll. Hrycaniuk scored inside for Prokom’s first double-digit lead and then Burrell grabbed an offensive rebounded ad dished to a cutting Woods for a three-point play and a 40-26 lead. McCarty scored Khimki’s first basket in nearly five minutes, but Burrell downed a three-pointer and Woods added free throws to stretch the lead to 17. McCarty made a free throw with a second left for a 45-29 halftime score.
McCarty tried to get his team going with a triple to start the third quarter. Ewing fed Burrell for a basket in transition and then dished to Woods, who was fouled on the break and made it 49-32 from the line. Fridzon found some momentum, grabbing Jankunas’s missed jumper and scoring and then connecting from downtown. A Prokom timeout did not slow the visitors down as McCarty hit from outside and Jankunas buried a three to cap a 0-10 run. Prokom head coach Tomas Pacesas used another timeout after which Logan attacked the basket for a layup. Fridzon answered quickly, but Varda replied with his first basket. Javtokas’s hook shot and McCarty’s jumper brought Khimki within 3. Logan came back with a tough basket. Mozgov scored from the line to bring his team within 55-52 heading into the fourth quarter.
Mozgov scored on the offensive glass to make it a 1-point game. Burrell knocked down a jumper and Logan fed Hrycaniuk for a layup to give Prokom some breathing room. McCarty silenced the crowd with a three-pointer. Woods added 2 free throws to make it 61-57. Langford attacked the basket for a layup after which both teams missed threes. Then a big man on each team committed a traveling violation. Langford lost control of the ball and Varda punished with a jumper over Javtokas with 2:40 to play. That seemed to ignited the center who knocked down a triple from the top of the key to make it 66-59 with 2:01 to play. McCarty made just one free throw at the other end and Woods fired in a three with 1:22 to go. A Fridzon triple gave Khimki hope. Word reached the arena that Milano had lost just before Logan netted 2 free throws to make it 71-64 with 45 seconds to play. Logan added another 2 free throws before Carlos Cabezas fired in a three. But Logan calmly sank 2 more free throws with 24 seconds left to practically seal the win.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010