| Khimki Moscow Region took a solid step in the right direction at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds by stopping Turow Zgorzelec of Poland by 74-67 on Friday in Charleroi, Belgium. Khimki will face the winner of Friday's late game in Charleroi, CEZ Nymburk vs. Banvit BK, in that bracket's semifinal on Saturday. Khimki blew the doors off a tight game with a 20-7 burst after halftime then managed the difference all the way to the finish. Kresimir Loncar led the winners with 16 points, while Chris Quinn added 15 and Vitaly Fridzon 11. Khimki's better percentages and 16-9 advantage on free throws kept Turow a step behind during the last 20 minutes. David Jackson led all scorers with 20 points, while Turow also got 14 from Konrad Wysocki, 13 from Aaron Cel and 10 from Daniel Klickert. Turow will not play this season in the 2011-12 Eurocup.
Jackson and Kickert quickly shot Turow to a 2-7 advantage as the Khimki offense failed to start clean. Soon, however, a succession of second-chance points during which Quinn and Thomas Kelati got their first baskets had the Russian powerhouse tied. Khimki wasn't done either, as Loncar's layup ended an 11-0 run to a 13-7 lead. Kickert got a basket back for Turow. A dunk by John Edwards got the Polish challengers closer and the last basket of the quarter, by Giedrius Gustas, closer still, at 13-15 after 10 minutes.
Turow's solid defense kept working long enough for Cel to shoot his team into the lead, at 15-16, from long range. Fridzon answered with a reverse layup and a foul, converting it into a three-point play and an 18-16 lead. Cel, on his way to 7 consecutive points, nailed a jumper to tie, then scored on a breakway, giving Turow an 18-20 lead. Egor Vyaltsev tied it up again on a baseline jumper. The teams battled back and forth, with Jackson pacing the Turow attack and Quinn doing most of the scoring for Khimki. A pair of late free throws by Loncar and another jumper by Quinn let Khimki cling to a 31-29 lead at halftime.
Khimki turned up the heat on both ends of the floor as Fridzon scored on a nice inside pass from Sergey Monya, opening up a 35-31 lead, soon after halftime. Fridzon continued on his own personal 7-0 run before Quinn joined from long range and Monya from short as the Khimki advantage suddenly ballooned to 45-31. Jackson dug deep to try and keep Turow in the game, hitting a three to cut the difference to 47-36, but Loncar’s solid inside play and Quinn's free throws extended Khimki's lead to 15 points, 51-36. Jackson got help from Cel, whose three-pointer lowered the margin to 11 again, 54-43, but that’s as close as Turow could get as Egor Vyaltsev's triple left Khimki in control, 58-45, after 30 minutes.
Turow made a valiant effort to come back behind Jackson and a hustling Wyscocki, who scored 5 consecutive points to cut the lead to 62-50, but timely shooting by Austin Daye, along with solid inside play by Timofey Mozgov and Loncar, kept Turow safely in front. Jackson’s drive answered Kelati’s two-pointer, cutting the lead to 70-59, but at that point the clock became too much of a factor for Turow to keep dreaming. Late steals allowed the Polish squad to get closer, but Khimki walked away with the victory and a place in Saturday's bracket semifinal.
Friday, September 30, 2011