Lokomotiv, Randolph roars to 24-point home win
Killer first and third quarters propelled Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar to its second-biggest win of the season as it blew away visiting Cedevita Zagreb 87-63 on Thursday to strengthen its hold on second place in Group E. Lokomotiv rose to 6-2 while Cedevita fell to the opposite record, 2-6, with an uphill climb in the playoff race. Lokomotiv raced to a 29-12 lead after 10 minutes that reached 20 points before Cedevita reeled it back to 44-33 at the break. After a 7-0 start to the second half, the hosts never looked back on their way to the victory. Anthony Randolph exploded with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists for the winners, all of them career highs in his first Euroleague season. Randolph's performance index rating of 43 was the second-best all season and tied for the fourth-highest in Top 16 history. Ryan Broekhoff follwed with 14 points as his team's only other double-digit scorer, although Malcolm Delaney dished 11 assists and newcomer Matt Janning made 3 of 5 three-pointers for 9 points. Only Miro Bilan, with 11 points, reached double digits for Cedevita.
First Quarter: Lokomotiv races away
Marko Arapovic started the visitors with a free throw but otherwise it was tough to score until Evgeny Voronov blasted a triple for Lokomotiv. Delaney added 2 free throws on an unsportsmanlike foul before Broekhoff hit his own triple for the hosts. Cedevita finally got a field goal by Bilan, but Voronov answered with 3 points the hard way to make it 11-3. Bilan tipped in his own miss and James White made his first basket on a drive to get Cedevita within 11-7. Randolph kept getting to the foul line, where he hit his next 3 of 4 shots before assisting Sergey Bykov on a catch-and-shoot triple. Bykov, too, hit a pair of free throws to make it 19-7 before White's scoop shot found the bottom of the basket. But Randolph was on a roll, hitting for 3 from the corner and rebounding his own miss to go back to the foul line and make it 24-11. Chris Singleton not only introduced himself with a three-point strike but his steal led to Dontaye Draper's layup on the way to a whopping 29-12 Lokomotiv lead after 10 minutes.
Second Quarter: Cedevita's defense responds
Fran Pilepic fed Luka Zoric, back after missing four games with an injury, for a dunk to start Cedevita's second quarter. After 3:40 without scoring, Lokomotiv got its next points from Janning, who buried a transition triple to make it 32-14. Janning liked the feeling and Delaney assisted him on a second triple in a row, but Henry Walker answered within seconds from the same distance for the visitors to make it 35-18. Zoric added free throws to Cedevita's tally before Andrey Zubkov hit a baseline jumper for Lokomotiv. When Pilepic drained a corner triple and Bilan scored in close, Cedevita was within 37-25. Out of a timeout, Lokomotiv got a triple from Broekhoff and a jump shot from Randolph. Bilan scored in a crowd, but Randolph made a spin move for his next basket, pushing the lead back to 17 points, 44-17. Bilan and Nemanja Gordic combined to take 4 of those points back, and when Walker drilled a jumper on the buzzer, Cedevita had cut the Lokomotiv lead down to 44-33 at the half.
Third Quarter: Randolph pours it on
Lokomotiv blasted off after the break with a triple by Broekhoff and Delaney stealing to feed Voronov on a fastbreak reverse. When Randolph then scored in close, it was suddenly 51-33. White made a pair of free throws for Cedevita before Pullen orchestrated a fastbreak that ended with Arapovic hanging from the rim and a 51-37 scoreboard. But Lokomotiv was on the loose as Broekhoff and Randolph teamed up for an alley-oop dunk on one fastbreak and reversed the order for a three-pointer on the next. After a timeout, when Delaney fed Victor Claver for a dunk, Lokomotiv had its biggest lead yet, 58-37. Claver added a free throw before Zoric's swish stopped the bleeding for Cedevita, but Delaney sent a no-look pass to Randolph, who dutifully rattled the rim to make it 61-39. Randolph then fed Claver inside for another dunk that Gordic answered with a layup. Randolph then ripped a rebound, put it back and converted the three-point play at 66-41. Delaney and Broekhoff added a pair of free throws each before Gordic made 2 free throws on an unsportsmanlike foul and then beat the buzzer with a triple in traffic as Lokomotiv pulled up to the end of the third quarter ahead by 70-46.
Fourth Quarter: Lokomotiv shuts the door early
Pilepic tried to keep Cedevita's momentum going with back-to-back triples early in the fourth quarter, but they were separated by a long rainbow to beat the shot clock from Bykov. The scoring stopped at 73-52 for several minutes until Janning uncorked another triple. Bilan got a free throw and Karlo Zganec got both of his to make it 76-55. Randolph kept scoring on a nice jumper before Toni Katic drilled another triple for Cedevita. Randolph took all those points back with a three-point play and then tipped in a fastbreak. It was only a question of the final difference, 87-63, Lokomotiv's second-biggest win of the season.
Thursday, February 25, 2016