Khimki Moscow Region stayed at the top of the Group D table by pulling off a thrilling 91-93 away win over Azovmash Mariupol on Tuesday. Khimki remains unbeaten with a 2-0 record, while Azovmash fell to 1-1. Khimki had a well-balanced offense with five players scoring in double figures, with 15 points apiece posted by Mike Wilkinson and Kelly McCarthy, while Daniel Ewing had 12, Teemu Rannikko and Nikita Shabalkin 11 each. Azovmash also had six playes reaching double figures, with Tomas Delininkaitis as the main contributor, with 20 points. Robert Archibald flirted with a double-double, amassing 14 points and 9 rebounds, Tyus Edney and Panagiotis Liadelis netted 13 points each, while Yegor Meshcharakou and Rodney Buford, who just joined the team, nailed 10 each.
Liadelis from downtown gave an early 8-4 margin to Azovmash, but before long, Khimki tied at 17-17 behind Wilkinson's offense. The lead went back and forth in an offensive show that ended 23-26 for Khimki after one quarter as Shabalkin buried a three-pointer. Igor Loktionov soon gave another 33-30 cushion to Azovmash that Delininkaitis extended to 41-35 midway through the second quarter, but Khimki was quickly back to tie again at 43-43. Still, Azovmash led 54-48 at halftime fueled by back-to-back three-pointers from Delininkaitis and Buford. The hosts tried again to escape early in the third period, pushed by Meshcharakou, and went ahead by 64-57, but Khimki showed to be a solid team by again coming back to tie at 67-67 before retaking the lead at 68-70 after 30 minutes. The last, crucial quarter was balanced until Vladimir Veremenko gave a 76-81 advantage to the guests. In the last minutes, as Meshcharakou and Buford fouled out for the hosts, Khimki was perfect from the free throw line, and all that Delininkaitis could do with the final shot was make the score as close as it was throughout an exciting game.
BC Khimki head coach Kestutis Kemzura
"We knew and expected an uneasy game here. Azovmash's team has always selected good, talented players, and this season is no exception. Besides, they played at home. However, we started the game wrong, especially in the second quarter, playing awful on defense. We let Delininkaitis and Liadellis score a lot. But in the third quarter we got together and lead the scoreboard. In general, I think the game was rather steady but nervous. I'm glad that we won this game because I think that Azovmash is one of the leaders of our group."
BC Khimki forward Kelly McCarty
"It was tough game. We knew that it would be a tough game. We knew that they have a good team, well coached. And our game plan was to execute and stay focused on what we prepared in practice. And I think we did it. Until the fourth quarter, we were down the whole game. It is a big thing for us to win, something we really wanted."
BC Azovmash head coach Algirdas Brazys
"First of all, I'd like to congratulate BC Khimki. We wanted to play a good home game, and we did it. Unfortunately, we could not win. You know we played with a very strong team, that has not lost all this season. We wanted to stop them, and had chances, but failed in the third quarter. We needed to go ahead, but missed our shots. We lost confidence then, and at that moment, they broke open the game."
BC Azovmash forward Tomas Delininkaitis
"Basketball is basketball. If you are off the court, you see it in a different way than when you are on it. I always believe in my shot. Maybe I cannot attack so much by driving, but my shot is good."
Tuesday, November 13, 2007