BC Khimki Moscow Region saved its best for the final quarter to ambush host Panellinios 73-89 in Athens on Tuesday and live to fight another day in Group I. Khimki's first victory gave it a 1-2 record and dropped Panellinios to 0-3. Khimki stayed in the Final Eight race with a fourth-quarter takeover of mammoth proportion, 0-13 starting with the 31st minute and 10-28 by the time the buzzer sounded before a shell-shocked Panellinios crowd. Anton Ponkrashov spearheaded the takeover and finished with 17 points and 6 assists for the winners. Mike Wilkinson, who kept the rally going, had 15 points, while Teemu Rannikko added 14, including 4 of Khimki's 13 three-pointers, and Vitaly Fridzon popped 12. Kelly McCarty and Ratko Varda's 6 rebounds each gave Khimki a 21-31 advantage on the boards. Panellinios got 15 points from Ivan Radenovic, 14 from Stevan Nadjfeji and 13 from Vlantimir Stergiou but ran out of scoring when it mattered most, in the fourth quarter.
Djuro Ostojic got the scoreboard rolling with a spin move, only to be bettered by Jorge Garbajosa from three-point range. Ostojic retorted with a close basket and a free throw, a few possessions before Brad Newley finished a fastbreak to put Panellinios up 7-3. Garbajosa scored inside for Khimki, but on the other end Ostojic was so far unstoppable. And when Anthony Grundy buried a triple, the hosts had built a 14-8 advantage midway through the quarter. Then, however, as Panellinios tried pushing the pace with adverse effects - 4 turnovers in a one-minute span- Garbajosa ignited a 0-7 run to put Khimki in front, 14-15. The guests' interior defense was problematic, though, allowing Ostojic and Golemac to punish them. So did Grundy, who slashed to the basket to score a layup and the free throw that came with it, letting Panellinios retake a 21-20 advantage after one quarter. Radenovic came out in dominating fashion for the second quarter, contributing a quick 6 points to keep Panellinios in front, 27-23. After some nice passing, Teemu Ranniko swished a triple against over the Panellinios zone defense but Stevan Nadjfeji and Vladimir Petrovic copied him to extend the home team's gap to 33-26. Out of a Khimki timeout, Ranniko knocked down a jumper to keep the guests close before Manolis Papamakarios stepped up for Panellinios working his way inside for a basket that ended a three-minute dry spell with his team still ahead 35-29. Petrovic scored off an assist from Radenovic to boost the margin to 38-29. Ranniko continued on his three-point shooting display, yet Petrovic joined him once again to fix the halftime score at 43-34.
At the outset of the second half, Khimki used some inspiring plays by Kelly McCarty and Varda to trim the lead to 45-43. Radenovic rose to the occasion for Panellinios, sinking a triple and a two-point basket to vault the hosts in front again, 52-45. Ratko Varda responded for Khimki, however Nadjfeji calmly sank a jumper to make it 56-49. Panellinios had picked up its defensive intensity and seemed to be in charge, yet Khimki managed to bounce back within 58-55 thanks to sudden, back-to-back triples by Ranniko and Ponkrashov. Papamakarios downed a pair of free throws, only to be followed by Ponkrashov, who unleashed a wild shot-clock buzzer-beater from downtown to cap a 2-12 run and give Khimki the lead, 60-61. Nadjfeji saved the last word for himself though, as he pulled a triple from his sleeve that helped Panellinios hold a 63-61 edge with one quarter left. The final quarter commenced with Ponkrashov and Vitaly Fridzon turning the game topsy-turvy, as they propelled Khimki on an incredible - and decisive - 0-13 run to a 65-76 advantage. Suddenly, Panellinios had lost its composure and was lackluster in both ends of the floor. With the clock ticking down and Panellinios gasping for some breath, Petrovic drove to the hoop to slice the margin to 69-76. Nonetheless, with its perimeter players dictating the tempo and Wilkinson embarking in the waning minutes on a one-man scoring fest, Khimki galloped to a resounding 73-89 away victory.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009