BC Khimki will play the Eurocup Finals on its home court after advancing Tuesday in Krasnodar, despite losing 81-77 to Lokomotiv Kuban in Game 2 of the quarterfinals. Khimki won the opener 81-72 to win the total points series by 5. An 18-4 run to finish the second quarter gave to the visitors a 33-46 lead at halftime, but Lokomotiv climbed back in the third quarter and finished its comeback early in the fourth by taking the lead on a three-pointer from Jeremiah Massey, 66-64. Loko came close to the needed 9-point margin at 78-71 with 80 seconds left, but Khimki iced its qualification by being perfect from the foul line. Ali Traore combined for 22 points and 6 rebounds for Lokomotiv, Massey added 19 with 8 boards and Vlado Ilievski scored 11 and Maxim Sheleketo 10 for Lokomotiv. Vitaly Frridzon paced Khimki with 17 points and 7 boards, Thomas Kelati poured in 16, Kresmir Loncar 13, Zoran Planinic 12 and Alexey Zhukanenko 11.
Massey opened the scoring from beyond the arc, then Planinic stole a ball at halfcourt and flew to the basket for an easy layup. A jump hook by Ali Traore made it 5-2; Loncar answered with the same move before pulling down an offensive board to score from short range to take the lead at 5-6. A three-pointer by Ilievski pushed the hosts, then Fridzon scored both his attempts from the foul line to tie things at 8-8. Traore was perfect from the foul line, but Fridzon from mid range kept the score even. Rod Blakney hit a three from the corner and Zhukanenko scored back-to-back layups for 13-14. The big men were unstoppable on each side as Traore scored another jump hook. Then Sergey Bykov stepped on the court and finished with a power move and Thomas Kelati nailed a deep three to beat the 24-second clock and to tie at 17-17. A Zhukanenko dunk and Massey with another triple gave a 22-19 margin to Lokomotiv. Zhukanenko converted an offensive board and few seconds later a free throw to tie things at 22-22. Planinic scored from mid range to finish the first quarter on 22-24 for Khimki.
Sheleketo’s mid-range jumper tie again the score. Loncar bagged just one of his free throws, before Kelati remained perfect from downtown in giving a 24-28 lead to the visitors. KC Rivers scored from three-points land, and a free throw by Massey put in front Lokomotiv 29-28, but Fridzon from long distance exchanged the lead once more. Kelati did not miss from beyond the arc for 29-34. Chris Quinn assisted Fridzon for an easy layup to lead 29-36 with four minutes left. Traore converted from the foul line, but Fridzon hit a jumper coming off a pick for 31-38. Sheleketo and Loncar exchanged free throws, Quinn also nailed a pair and Kelati and Quin also scored twice from mid range to complete an 18-4 run to lead 33-46 at halftime.
Massey dunked the ball to excite the crowd to open the third quarter. Planinic answered form mid range before Traore's hook kept Lokomotiv in charge at 37-48. Planinic and Ilievsi both bagged mid-range jumpers, but Egor Vyatsev from three-point land gave again a 39-54 advantage to the visiting team. Traore chipped in a free throw, while Fridzon’s mid-range jumper gave a 40-56 cushion to Khimki after minutes. Traore, again from the foul line, opened a 10-0 run with him scoring five more points and caped by Ilievski from long distance to close within 50-56. Quinn poured in 1 from the foul line and Bykov grabbed a rebound on the offensive glass to score and added few seconds later 2 free throws to make it 54-57. Kelati fueled Khimki with a deep jumper and the additional free throw. Big man Grigory Shukhovtsov also scored a pair and Zhukanenko followed his great performance with a jam. With 9 seconds left in the quarter, Massey scored 3 free throws to finish at 59-62 through three quarters.
Shukhovtsov again from the foul line put Lokomotiv closer. Fridzon finished the break to make it 61-64, then Massey scored 5 in a row for a 66-64 advantage to the home team. Planinic’s jumper tied things at 66-66 and Sheleketo scored consecutive buckets for a 70-66 lead. Loncar and Traore exchanged short jumpers in the paint, then the Croatian big man completed a three-point-play to stay within 72-71. Coming off a timeout, the hosts sparked a 6-0 run starting with Trore in the paint, highlighted by a dunk from Massey and capped by Rivers from the foul line to go ahead 78-71 with 80 seconds to go. Planinic, fouled by Rivers, scored his attempts for the free throw line with 29 seconds left in the game, before Massey missed a triple. Fridzon was also perfect and Ilievski hit a three to stay on 81-75 with 11 seconds on the game clock. Kelati scored his free throw to go on 81-77 as the game finished with Khimki losing, but smiling!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012