Debutants lead Lokomotiv past Andorra
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar unveiled two new stars on Wednesday in a 93-82 victory over MoraBanc Andorra in the teams' 7DAYS EuroCup season-opener. EuroCup debutants Johnathan Motley and Darius Thompson were spectacular for the winners, who led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter before easing up in the final stanza. Motley produced 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks and Thompson made all 8 of his two-point tries en route to 20 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Veteran Errick McCollum contributed 18 points and 6 assists to the winning effort. Codi Miller-McIntyre paced Andorra with 19 points and 5 assists and Victor Arteaga added 10 in defeat.
Thompson went through the heart of the MoraBanc defense for a layup and the game's first points before Motley took a rebound coast-to-coast for a slam and a 4-0 lead. Drew Crawford got Andorra on the scoreboard, but Lokomotiv continued to score with relative ease. McCollum converted a three-point play and Greg Whittington nailed a three from the elbow for a double-digit lead, 14-4, midway through the opening quarter. Gal Mekel came off the bench and sparked the Andorra attack with assists to Babatunde Olumuyiwa and Moussa Diagna, however, the visitors had no answers on defense. McCollum made it 25-8 from the foul line. Mekel and Diagne combined to score the next 9 points, including Mekel's layup on the first-quarter buzzer that made it 25-17.
Stanton Kidd opened the second quarter with a triple from the corner, but Andorra continued to close the gap and it was 28-22 after Mario Nakic hit from deep. Motley and Thompson teamed up to push the lead up to 35-24, which prompted an Andorra timeout. Despite a three-point play by Mario Nakic, Lokomotiv found a groove behind an unstoppable Motley who scored 7 consecutive points before Whittington's fastbreak dunk made it 44-17. The home team center reached 19 points and gave Lokomotiv a 20-point lead with a tip-in of his own miss. Mekel drove for a last-second layup to bring the visitors within 51-34 at the break.
The teams traded points in the early going of the second half. When Lokomotiv cooled down, Oriol Pauli's alley-oop-and-one got Andorra within 60-45. Threes by McCollum and Andrei Martiuk soon had the Lokomotiv lead back in the 20s. After a relatively quiet quarter, Motley sank a pair of free throws and Vladislav Emchenko added a jumper for a 26-point advantage. Conor Morgan ended the third quarter with a three for Andorra that made it 72-49.
Emchenko continued to impress with a steal and layup followed by a three that made it 79-51. Coach Pashutin went deeper onto his bench to give youngsters Valerii Kalinov and Sasha Shcherbenev their chance. Miller-McIntyre pushed the pace for Andorra and he twice assisted Arteaga as the visitors trimmed the deficit to 81-61. Another three by Morgan and a free throw by Miller-McIntyre made it 83-67. The visitors got within 13 on a layup by David Jelinek, which prompted a Lokomotiv timeout with less than 3 minutes to play. Jelinek's free throws made it 87-77. Free throws by McCollum and a bucket inside by Motley helped put the finishing touches on the victory.
McCollum moves into tie for third on all-time scoring charts
With a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar guard Errick McCollum reached 1,240 career EuroCup points, which moved him into a tie with Rafa Martinez for the third-most points in competition history. McCollum, a former EuroCup MVP and champion, had a few tries after to break the tie, but he missed and finished with 18 points on the night. He will have to wait another week to move past Martinez and into sole possession of third place. Then McCollum can begin his pursuit of Jamar Smith (1,396 points) for second place. The EuroCup's all-time scoring leader is Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia with 1,445 points – and counting.
Miller-McIntyre led Andorra's late rally
MoraBanc Andorra trailed by as many as 28 points in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss at Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and went into the fourth down 72-49. The visitors had not scored more than 17 points in any of the first three quarters and at that point, starting point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre had struggled to the tune of 2 points, 4 turnovers and a performance index rating of -5. He then took control in the fourth quarter with 17 points and 4 assists as Andorra outscored 21-33 to make the final score much more respectable. He made 5 of 6 two-pointers and his only three as well as 4 free throws from 6 tries while committing only 1 turnover in the fourth quarter. It was a performance that is sure to give the player and team great hope for the coming games.
Motley, Thompson assault Loko record book
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar newcomers Johnathan Motley and Darius Thompson produced spectacular EuroCup debuts against MoraBanc Andorra on Wednesday that have etched their names into the club's record book. Motley produced 29 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks for a performance index rating of 39. He tied Derrick Brown for the biggest PIR ever by a Lokomotiv player; Brown reached that number in December 2012 against Trefl Sopot. Motley also tied Jimmy Baron for the fourth-most points in a Lokomotiv uniform. He drew 9 fouls, which were 1 off the record by a Lokomotiv player, too. Thompson scored 20 points, dished 5 assists and grabbed 4 steals for a PIR of 32. He shot 8 for 8 on two-pointers, which is the second-most accurate effort ever by a Lokomotiv player; Derrick Brown was 9 for 9 against Cajasol Seville in January 2013. Thompson's 4 steals also tied for the ninth-most in club history.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021