Khimki sweeps Valencia, reaches semis
Khimki Moscow Region advanced to the Eurocup semifinals for the third time in club history by dethroning outgoing champion Valencia Basket 76-61 in Game 2 of their two-way quarterfinal series on Wednesday. Khimki swept the series and is set to face Banvit Bandirma in the semifinals. Valencia run out of the chance to become the first team to succesfully defend the Eurocup title. Tyrese Rice paced the winners with 18 points and 10 assists. Sergey Monya added 16 points, Petteri Koponen had 14 while Egor Vyaltsev got 13 for Khimki. Bojan Dubljevic had 15 points for Valencia while Nemanja Nedovic added 12. A three-pointer by Pau Ribas gave Valencia the lead in the series, 4-6. Koponen, Rice and Paul Davis stepped up for Khimki to make the hosts get a 21-20 edge after 10 minutes. Nedovic took over early in the second quarter and a layup by Kresimir Loncar gave Valencia a 24-30 margin. It didn't last long, as Vyaltsev and Monia each had 5 points in a 14-2 run which helped Khimki get a 42-36 edge at halftime. Valencia went scoreless for 5 minutes after the break which Rice and Tyler Honeycutt allowed Khimki to get a 17-point lead, 53-36. Nothing changed from that moment, as Khimki kept a 62-47 margin at the end of the third quarter and extended it to 72-52 behind an outstanding Rice to seal the outcome.
Vyaltsev got Khimki going with a backdoor layup which Guillem Vives erased with a driving basket. Monya dunked, Bojan Dubljevic scored down low and a three-pointer by Ribas put Valencia ahead, 4-7. Honeycutt took over with a slam and Rice struck from downtown for a 9-7 Khimki lead. Luke Harangody stepped up for the guests and Vives scored in penetration. Ruslan Pateev answered with a layup and a six-meter jumper by Romain Sato restored a 14-15 Valencia edge. Dubljevic shined with a jump hook off a spin move but Koponen made Khimki regain the lead, 18-17. Davis shined with a three-point play by Pablo Aguilar and Nedovic kept Valencia within 21-20 after 10 minutes. Nedovic scored again early in the second quarter and soon added a triple for a 21-25 Valencia edge. Vyaltsev and Rafa Martinez also struck from downtown and a layup by Loncar boosted the guests' lead to 24-30. Monia and Vyaltsev sank back-to-back three-pointers but Dubljevic hit free throws for a 30-32 score. Vyaltsev scored again, igniting an 8-0 run which Rice capped with a layup for a 38-32 Khimki lead. Dubljevic and Vladimir Lucic made free throws but a big three-pointer by Monia gave Khimki a 42-36 margin at halftime.
Rice hit 4-of-4 foul shots right after the break, as Valencia struggled to score early in the second half. Vyaltsev buried his trademark corner three-pointer to break the series open, 49-36, forcing Valencia to call timeout. Honeycutt followed a driving layup and an easy dunk that made it a 17-point game, 53-36, after a 14-0 run. Valencia could not find the way to the basket until Dubljevic stepped up with a layup. Nedovic took over with a three-point play but Monia beat the guests' zone defense with a triple. Koponen also struck from downtown for a 59-41 Khimki lead. Lucic nailed a corner triple, Rice split free throws and a big basket by Nedovic gave Valencia hope, 60-47. Free throws by Koponen fixed the score at 62-47 after 30 minutes. Rice struck twice from downtown early in the fourth quarter, as Khimki has started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Loncar tried to change things with a close basket which Koponen erased with a six-meter jumper. Lucic took over with a three-point play but it was already too little, too late for the outgoing champions. Khimki had plenty of time to celebrate a well-deserved win which allows the Russian powerhouse to keep fighting for Eurocup glory.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015