BC Khimki fended off a tough challenge from EWE Baskets Oldenburg for a 77-72 home win to remain perfect at home in Group D. Paulius Jankunas matched his career high with 23 points and the hosts won a free-throw shooting contest in the closing minute to improve to 2-1. Next Khimki heads to Italy to face Armani Jeans Milano. Meanwhile Oldenburg lost its second straight game after leading in the fourth quarter to fall to 1-2 and it won’t get much easier with Real Madrid coming to town next week. It was all Khimki early as it opened the game on a 15-3 tear and led by as much as 17 before Marko Scekic led the visitors on a 0-14 charge to get back and take a 36-42 lead at halftime. Khimki battled back and seemed on the verge of pulling away when it took a 55-49 lead late in the third only for Je’Kel Foster to scored the game’s next 10 points before Josh Carter made it 55-62. But mounting foul trouble saw Oldenburg lose two players and Keith Langford and Paulius Jankunas led the hosts back again. This time tough defense and great free throw shooting made the difference and sent Khimki to the win. Vitaly Fridzon and Robertas Javtokas added 12 points apiece and Kelly McCarty scored 11 for the winners. Foster paced Oldenburg with 17 points and 6 assists, Milan Majstorovic scored 14, Carter 13 and Scekic had 10 in defeat.
Khimki won the opening tip and Fridzon started the scoring with a backdoor cut and a fine dish from Javtokas. Ruben Boumtje Boumtje countered with Oldenburg’s first point from the line. A pair of McCarty jumpers and 2 free throws by Fridzon saw the hosts climb to an 8-1 lead before Rickey Paulding got Oldenburg its first basket in the low post. Fridzon zipped a pass to an open Javtokas and Jankunas drilled a triple as the lead reached 13-3 and Oldenburg head coach Predrag Krunic called for timeout. Still the hosts’ defense frustrated the German champs and McCarty scored off an inbounds pass to take the lead to 12. Foster tried to fuel a comeback, but another Jankunas triple made it 20-5. Paulding and Timofey Mozgov traded baskets before Mozgov threw down a two-handed jam that increased the lead to 17. Majstorovic’s second chance basket made it 24-9 after 10 minutes.
Paulding drove to the basket to start the second quarter with a score and then he dished to Majstorovic for a slam in transition as the visitors showed signs of life. A Majstorovic triple shifted the momentum to Oldenburg and caused Khimki head coach Sergio Scariolo to take a timeout. The stop in play did not bother Oldenburg as Paulding sent a full-court pass to Scekic for a basket. Scekic added a basket on the offensive glass and then drilled a triple to complete a run of 14 unanswered points to get within 24-23. Fridzon finally ended Khmki’s three-and-a-half minute drought, but Paulding found Carter for a triple that gave Oldenburg its first lead, 26-28. Langford’s drive tied the game. However Daniel Hain answered with a pair of baskets for the visitors. Foster increased the lead to 31-37 with a three before Jankunas thrilled the crowd with a put-back slam. Raul Lopez narrowed the gap to 3, but Carter matched him from downtown to make it 36-42 at halftime.
Khimki went to Javtokas in the post early in the second half and the big man responded with a pair of baskets. McCarty then stepped up with a triple as the hosts regained the lead. Despite an Oldenburg timeout, Javtokas capped a 9-0 push for a 45-42 edge. Majstorovic scored the visitors’ first points of the half, but Paulding’s second offensive foul of the quarter kept them from going ahead. Majstorovic came through with a slam, but Javtokas matched his with an alley-oop from Fridzon plus foul. The lead continued to switch hands as Scekic buried a three and Jankunas made free throws. But Oldenburg’s offense went dry for a few minutes and the hosts took advantage with free throws from McCarty and Jankunas to go ahead 55-49. Foster scored on a circus shot and then drove for a basket. He was then fouled at the third-quarter buzzer and sank 2 free throws to tie the game at 55-55 heading into the fourth quarter.
Nearly two minutes passed before Foster picked up where he left off, putting Oldenburg ahead and then polishing off a 0-10 run of his own with a steal and layup. Carter hit from downtown and suddenly the momentum was all Oldenburg. Even what looked like an easy fast break layup for Frizdon was blocked by Hain. Jankunas ended Khmki’s four-plus minute drought with a clutch triple, but Boumtje Boumtje kept his team in control with 2 free throws. Paulding fouled out with five minutes still to play and Keith Langford capitalized with an acrobatic layup. Jankunas sank his fourth triple of the game as Khimki cut the gap to 62-64 and the home crowd got excited. Scekic also fouled out for Oldenburg and Langford tied the game at 64-64 from the line with 3:28. Jasmin Perkovic stepped up for Oldenburg with a three-pointer, but a Foster turnover led to a Mozgov dunk. Langford came through with just under two minutes to go as Khimki went ahead 68-67 and Jankunas extended the lead to 3. Majstorovic was fouled inside with 58 seconds left and made just 1 free throw, but after holding Khimki, Carter made it a 1-point game from the line with 23 seconds to play. Forced to foul, Oldenburg sent Lopez to the line and he sank 2 with 18 seconds to play. Foster matched him and made it 73-72 with 10 seconds left. But Hain was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul and free throws by Frizdon sealed the win and gave Khimki a hard-fought win.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009