Lukoil Academic showed its power right at the start of the ULEB Cup regular season in Group C by downing visiting Telindus Oostende 91-77 in Sofia, Bulgaria on Tuesday night. As such, Lukoil opens Group C with a big home win which makes the perennial Bulgarian League champion tie atop the standings with a 1-0 record, while Oostende dropped to 0-1. Todor Stoykov led the winners with 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting and 6 of 7 free throws, but Lamont Jones was the man of the game with a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists. Lamont Jones also posted a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, Riste Stefanov had 12 points and Thomas Mobley added 11 for Lukoil. Rashad Wright had 18 points for Oostende, Vanja Plisnic added 17, Lavor Postell 13 and Elvir Ovcina 12. Lukoil already led 23-19 at the end of the first quarter, while Jones had 11 points in the second period to make the hosts boost their margin to 46-37 at halftime. Ovcina and Plisnic brought Oostende within 53-48 midway through the third quarter, but Mobley, Stoykov and an outstanding Jones allowed Lukoil to keep a safe lead all the way and seal a well-deserved win long before the final buzzer.
Stoykov opened the score with a driving basket which Ovcina erased with a reverse layup. Gjorgji Cekovski and Plisnic exchanged baskets, while Postell buried a long jumper to give Oostende its first lead, 4-6. Barnes scored in the paint, as Lukoil entered the foul bonus in just 3 minutes. Stefanov and Plisnic exchanged triples, but Cekovski also hit from downtown to give Lukoil a 14-11 edge. Barnes dunked it in a 7-0 run which Stoykov with a fast break layup and forced Oostende to call timeout at 18-11. Wright stepped up for Oostende with consecutive baskets, but Barnes dunked it while Stoykov nailed his first basket for a 23-15 Lukoil lead. Plisnic answered from downtown and Eric Hicks added a free throw for a 23-19 Oostende deficit after 10 minutes. Hicks kept pacing Oostende with 2 foul shots early in the second quarter, but Stoykov and Jones each had points in a 8-0 run which gave Lukoil a double-digit lead, 31-21. Ovcina tried to change things with a fast break layup which Jones quickly erased in the other end. Wright fired in one from downtown and Toby Bailey dunked it to force a Lukoil timeout at 33-28, midway through the second quarter. Mobley, Jones and Cekovski nailed consecutive triples to make Lukoil stay out of trouble at 42-32. Wright shined with an acrobatic layup, igniting a 0-5 Oostende run which he capped with free throws, but Brown scored in penetration while Jones beat the buzzer with a jumper which gave Lukoil a 46-37 lead at halftime.
Mobley made a three-pointer from the top of the key and Barnes added a put-back layup to give Lukoil a 51-37 lead right after the break. Ovcina stepped up with 4 points in a 0-6 Oostende run which Plisnic capped with foul shots for a 51-45 deficit. Barnes hit a turnaround jumper which Denis Wucherer erased with free throws. Stoykov rescued Lukoil with a put-back layup but Ovcina answered from downtown to make it a five-point game, 53-48. Brown scored in transition and Stefanov fired in a corner triple for a double-digit Lukoil lead, 58-48. Hicks came off the bench to score inside, Jones and Plisnic exchanged triples while Postell hit a baseline jumper to get Oostende within 61-55. Stefanov canned a five-meter jumper, Wucherer hit free throws and Mobley scored in penetration for a 65-57 Lukoil lead after 30 minutes. Hicks tried to ignit the Oostende back with a layup but Mobley stayed on fire with a triple which gave the hosts a 68-59 lead. Stoykov stepped up with consecutive layups to force an Oostende timeout at 72-60. Plisnic hit 3 free throws while Postell fired in a big triple to give Oostende some hope at 74-67. Stefanov answered from downtown while Jones hit a stop-and-pop jumper to make Lukoil keep a safe lead, 79-69. Stoykov sealed the outcome with a corner three-pointer, as Oostende never recovered while Jones hit an acrobatic layup to seal his big game in style.