Laboral rallies late to first Top 16 win over Nizhny
Staring down a five-point deficit at home late in the fourth quarter Friday, Laboral Kutxa Vitoria took off like a rocket until game's end to claim an 81-74 victory, its first in the Top 16, against Nizhny Novgorod. Both teams are now 1-2 in Group F. Nizhny was ahead most of the game and led by 65-70 on Taylor Rochestie's free throws with 3:08 to play, but then a dunk by Davis Bertans lit Laboral's spark and a huge triple by Mike James with 42 seconds put the game out of reach at 76-71 for Nizhny. James was Laboral's top scorer with 14 points, while Tornike Shengelia had 12, Mirza Begic 11 and Colton Iverson a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds, including 6 of his team's 18 on the offensive glass. Taylor Rochestie was nearly unstoppable, hitting 6 of 7 three-pointers for 24 points to lead Nizhny's ambush attempt. Trey Thompkins followed with 14 points and Artsiom Parakhouski 12 plus 11 rebounds in defeat.
FIRST QUARTER: Rochestie, Nizhny stake claim
A three-pointer by Rochestie opened the scoring, while Thompkins and Parakhouski soon upped Nizhny's lead to 2-7. Only a back-door layup by Darius Adams fell for Laboral during the game's first 3 minutes until Fabien Causeur broke the spell with another. Thompkins and Bertans traded shots from the arc but Bertans got fouled and turned his into a four-point play to get the hosts within 8-10. Parakhouski scored again, so even when Adams struck from deep, Nizhny still led 11-12. Tarence Kinsey ended a couple scoreless minutes with a jump shot for the visitors. Maksim Krivosheev followed him with a dunk in close, but Shengelia matched it with an up-and-under layup. Iverson's put-back dunk finished the quarter getting Laboral closer, but leaving Nizhny in charge at 17-18.
SECOND QUARTER: Nizhny controls scoreboard
Semen Antonov and Fernando San Emeterio traded baskets to open the second quarter. Rochestie hit a rainbow jumper to put the visitors up 19-22. Parakhouski scored in close and then dropped 2 free throws for the high lead until then, 19-26. Begic got a pair of baskets back for Laboral, but the hosts left Antonov open for a triple and a 23-29 scoreboard. James dropped a jumper that Rochestie neutralized with free throws, just as Thomkins did those of Begic with a put-back at 27-33. Back and forth they went with Adams scoring again, Ivan Savalyev hitting free throws and San Emeterio scoring in close as the difference remained the same, 31-35, as the first half finished.
THIRD QUARTER: James caps Laboral comeback
Neither team could beat the other's defense early in the second half, when only 3 of 4 free throws by Shengelia went in for more than 3 minutes, but that was enough to get the hosts within 34-35. Rochestie erased that gain with one shot, his second triple, but Shengelia got back to the line and was perfect there. James drove and scored at 38-39, while Causeur's free throws and a dunk by Iverson put Laboral back ahead, 42-39. Thompkins and Khvostov shot Nizhny back in front from downtown, 44-45, but James returned to the foul line to restore Laboral's lead. Kinsey took it back with a lane jumper and then Thompkins maneuvered inside for another basket. Good ball movement by Nizhny resulted in Kinsey burying a three-pointer that made it 46-52 and prompted a Labor timeout. Kim Tillie got a couple free throws back for Laboral then made a steal that led to another by Begic. The hosts kept charging back until James stopped cold and drilled a buzzer-beating triple to force a 52-52 tie after 30 minutes.
FOURTH QUARTER: Laboral roars back for win
Begic started the fourth quarter with a put-back dunk that the home crowd loved, but after Parakhouski answered, he had to do it again with a jump hook. Rochestie appeared on the arc and drilled his shot, then Antonov did the same from the other wing as Nizhny took a 56-60 advantage. San Emeterio's free throws seemed to settle Laboral, but Rochestie responded with a well-contested triple to make it 58-63. Laboral needed something, and Bertans returned to give it from the arc, although he failed to complete his second four-point play opportunity. Laboral's defense left Rochestie alone to punch in another triple at 61-66. Dunks by James and Iverson around free throws by Thompkins made it 65-68. As Nizhny got more free throws, these 2 by Rochestie at 65-70 Laboral got another dunk, from Bertans, and a driving layup by Causeur to pull within 69-70. On the two-minute mark, Laboral stole and Shengelia dunked before Iverson tipped in a miss to make it 73-71. It was still anybody's game until Iverson controlled an offensive rebound that led to James stepping back for a huge triple with 42 seconds left for a 76-71 lead. Shengelia and Causeur added free throws down the stretch as Laboral put the wraps on a first win in Group F.
Friday, January 16, 2015