Lokomotiv cruises in Vilnius to secure Top 16 berth
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar became the first team from Group D to qualify for the Top 16, after thrashing Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius 53-84 in Siemens Arena on Thursday. Lokomotiv improved to 6-1 and remained in sole possession of first place in Group D, while Rytas dropped to 1-6. The visitors took control of the game with a 4-23 charge in the second quarter, helping them to 31-39 halftime lead. After the break, Lokomotiv continued its dominance, pulling away to 40-61 before cruising to victory in the fourth quarter. Derrick Brown had 20 points plus 8 rebounds for Lokomotiv, which played without Krunoslav Simon and Sergey Bykov. Richard Hendrix had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks in victory, Aleks Maric scored 12, while Simas Jasaitis and Mantas Kalnietis had 10 apiece. Renaldas Seibutis scored 15 for the hosts and Juan Palacios added 13 in defeat.
First quarter: Palacios helps Rytas get early lead
Hendrix banked in a shot to start the scoring before Martynas Gecevicius nailed a triple to open Rytas's account. Jasaitis made a layup for the visitors, but Seibutis hit a jumper at the other end. Seibutis followed it up with an off-balanced jumper, before Palacios strung together 8 points – a layup and three jumpers – to make it 15-8. Layups from Valeriy Likhodey and Kalnietis cut it to 15-12, but Darius Songaila’s driving layup sparked another run for the hosts. Milenko Tepic nailed a jumper, Gecevicius hit a wide-open three, and after Kalnietis made a jumper for Lokomotiv, Lideka scored a layup in a crowd for 24-16 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Lokomotiv takes control with a 2-19 run
Lokomotiv opened the second quarter with a basket inside from Maric and a jumper from Marcus Williams. After free throws from Seibutis, the visitors went on a 0-11 run. Maric started things with a basket-plus-foul against the zone defense, and Kalnietis added a tough driving layup. Hendrix continued the run from close range to give Lokomotiv the lead, before Williams assisted Kalnietis for a couple of layups and a 26-31 lead. Seibutis snapped Rytas's drought with a jump shot, but Brown made a layup on the other end before Jasaitis got a lucky roll on a tough long jumper. While Lokomotiv's defense produced turnover and forced the hosts into impossible shots with Hendrix blocking two of them, Brown sank a mid-range jumper and Maric made a layup for the first double-digit lead of the game, 28-39. In the final minute of the half, Stevan Jelovac made a shot for Rytas, helping cut it to 31-39 at halftime.
Third quarter: The visitors pull away
On the first play of the third quarter, Hendrix made a nifty assist for a Brown dunk. Hendrix added a layup for a 31-43 lead, before Omar Cook sank a three-pointer for Rytas. Lideka followed it up with a layup, but Hendrix scored inside and Maric made a layup-plus-foul that made it 36-48. Jasaitis‘s fastbreak layup extended the lead to 14 points, before Songaila snapped a 0-7 run from close range. But Jasaitis scored a layup and Brown finished a fastbreak with a dunk-plus-foul for a 38-55 advantage. Songaila scored a put-back for Rytas, but Brown made a steal and raced for a dunk before a jumper from Williams made it 40-61 at the end of the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: Lokomotiv cruises to Top 16
Lokomotiv opened the fourth quarter in style, with an alley-oop dunk by Brown. Seibutis hit a triple for the hosts, but Jasaitis and Brown with a basket-plus-foul made it 43-68. With the game out of reach, Palacios sank a baseline jumper to start a little run by the hosts as Seibutis put-back cut it to 49-68. Hendrix and Brown added to the tally with dunks, and Hendrix had another basket from close range for 51-74. Before the end, Andrey Zubkov sank a pair of three-pointers, and Maxim Kolyushkin ended the game in style with an alley-oop dunk as Lokomotiv made history in its debut Euroleague season.
Thursday, November 28, 2013