BC Khimki Moscow Region had a good start in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague first Qualifying Round by edging Pepsi Caserta 74-77 in Italy on Tuesday. Khimki got a three-point lead in the two-way series, that now travel to Russia for the decisive showdown. The winner will face Budivelnik in the second qualifying round. Keith Langford led the winners with 19 points and buried the game-winning triple with 0.4 seconds left. Vitaly Fridzon added 13 while Ben Eze had 11 for Khimki. Lukasz Koszarek led Caserta with 16 points. Ebi Ere added 14, Luca Garri had 12 while Timmy Bowers and Jumaine Jones each got 11 for the hosts, that played without starting point guard Fabio Di Bella. Khimki led for the best part of the first half but Garri, Bowers and Ere allowed Caserta to get a 38-34 lead at the break. Khimki regained the lead early in the fourth quarter behind an outstanding Eze and a three-point play by Frdizon boosted the guests' lead to 61-68. Koszarek and Garri allowed Caserta to tie it at 74-74 but Langford buried a seven-meter bomb to give Khimki the lead in the series.
Thomas Kelati got Khimki going with a three-pointer, as Caserta struggled to score in the opening 3 minutes. A layup by Eze soon gave the guests a 0-5 edge, as Caserta kept missing open shots. Sergey Monia scored in penetration from the high post but Jones and Philip Martin kept the hots within 3-7. Langford silenced the crowd with his first triple and Zoran Planinic took advantage of his size to scored in the low post against Koszarek for a 3-12 score. Koszarek took revenge with a jumper and Jones scored in penetration to get the crowd involved at 7-12. A red hot Jones buried an unbelievable triple but Langford followed a wild driving layup with a big basket to keep Khimki ahead, 10-16. Garri and Aleksey Savrasenko traded layups but Bowers got Caserta within 14-18 after 10 minutes.
Fedor Dmitriev drew a foul and made free throws early in the second quarter but Garri bettered that with a three-point play for a 17-20 score. Raul Lopez provided a highlight with a driving layup that Aaron Doornekemp bettered with a jumper - and the free throw that came with it. Fridzon nailed a big triple but Martin Colussi made free throws and beat the shot clock buzzer with a wild jumper to make it a one-point game, 24-25. Khimki called timeout but a stop-and-pop jumper by Koszarek gave Caserta its first lead, 26-25. Kreso Loncar hit free throws and Langford scored again to tie it at 30-30. Garri sank 4-of-4 free throws and Jones fed Ere for a layup that forced Khimki to stop the game at 36-31. Langford shined with a driving basket but an uncontedted layup by Bowers fixed the halftime score at 38-34.
Eze was first to score right after the break but an off-balance layup by Ere allowed Caserta to restore a 40-36 edge. Planinic found space for a layup in the low post, as Khimki tried to slow down the game tempo. Both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until a reverse layup by Eze tied it at 40-40. Eze stayed on fire with a high-flying alleyoop dunk but free throws by Ere and a step-back jumper by Jones put Caserta back ahead, 44-42. Olumide Oyedeji got the crowd involved with an outstanding dunk that Langford matched with a jumper. Bowers shined with a driving layup in transition but Khimki kept powering the offensive board to stay in the game. Langford and Ere traded free throws but Lopez buried a triple off the dribble to get the guests within 50-49. Kelati joined the three-point shootout but Koszarek beat the buzzer with a desperation shot to give Caserta a 54-52 edge after 30 minutes.
Fridzon and Bowers struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter, as Khimki tried to open the floor with Dmitriev and Loncar together on court. Fridzon kept pacing the guests with a power basket and Lopez nailed a wide open triple to give Khimki a 57-60 edge. Loncar downed a five-meter jumper that Ere bettered with a rainbow triple for a 61-62 Caserta deficit. Dmitriev answered from downtown and a layup-plus-foul by Fridzon forced the hosts to call timeout at 61-68. Garri shined with a reverse layup and Koszarek added a jumper to put Caserta as close as 65-68 with 4 minutes left. Fridzon hit a close jumper that Koszarek matched with free throws but a layup by Eze gave Khimki some fresh air at 67-72. Jones sank free throws and Koszarek added a corner triple to make it a one-point game, 72-73, with less than 2 minutes left. Langford split free throws but a layup by Garri tied it, 74-74, with a minute left. Fridzon missed around the basket, Jones could not hit a turnaround jumper and it all came down to the final play. Khimki isolated Langford, that nailed a triple from the top of the key to win it for the guests.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010