After giving up a promising lead in the closing minutes of regulation, Lokomotiv Kuban came back to force overtime and then dominated the extra session to open the Last 16 with an 81-67 win over previously undefeated Lietuvos Rytas in the teams’ Last 16 Group L opener. The duo of Sergey Bykov and Ali Traore scored 12 of Lokomotiv’s first 14 points in overtime to stake out a 9-point lead that was too much for Rytas to answer. Jeremiah Massey paced the winners with 17 points, Traore totaled 15 points and 9 rebounds, Rod Blakney and KC Rivers added 13 points apiece and Bykov and Brezec had 10 each. Steponas Babrauskas paced Rytas with 17 points, Renaldas Seibutis scored 15 and Jonas Valanciunas grabbed 13 rebounds before fouling out. Lokomotiv took control through an outstanding 18-2 second-quarter run en route to a comfortable 40-26 halftime lead. However Rytas roared after the break with a 4-15 push to climb back. The game remained balanced until 5 consecutive points scored by Blakney gave a 59-51 cushion to the host. Just when it seemed the outcome was decided, Rytas reeled off 11 unanswered points for a 59-62 lead with 24 seconds remaining. Free throws by Blakney tied the score at 62-62 to send the game into overtime, where the hosts regained composure and raced to victory.
Traore scored the first basket of the Last 16 before Seibutis with a layup gave a 3-6 margin to the guests. After another basket by the French big man, the defense prevailed for two-and-a-half minutes before Arturas Jomantas from mid range made it 5-8. Massey hit from downtown to tie things at 8-8, but back-to-back baskets by Tyrese Reece and Valanciunas showed the balance of Rytas’s offense. Lokomotiv showed its power in the paint to take a 13-12 lead on a three-point-play by Brezec. Blackney made a three Massey scored from the line to complete a 10-0 run for an 18-12 margin. Babrauskas answered with 4 consecutive points before Brezec fixed the score at 20-16 for Lokomotiv after 10 minutes. Aleksandar Rasic scored twice from mid range to tie again the score at 22-22 early in the second quarter. Then the momentum changed in Kuban’s favor. Bykov scored a jumper to put his team in front, Rivers scored from long distance and then hit a jumper with an additional free throw and Brezec completed a 13-0 run for a 35-22 advantage. Finally Mindaugas Katelynas pulled down an offensive rebound to add points for the guests after five scoreless minutes. Rivers hit once more from downtown and Lionel Chalmers scored in the open court to raise the advantage to 40-24 late in the quarter. Valanciunas was just able to score in the paint for a 40-26 score at halftime.
A Blakney layup opened the scoring in the third quarter, but Seibutis kept the visitors going with a layup and 2 from the foul line. The visitors were back behind by double digits when Rice scored from beyond the arc, but a steal by Babrauskas and 2 easy points by Seibutis capped a 9-2 run that made it 42-35. Rice, Valanciunas and Babrauskas scored three consecutive baskets to lift the visitors within 44-41. The local big men woke up and were back using their size to push away the guests, 49-41, but Babrauskas remained on fire from three-point land. Traore scored from the top of the key and added free throws just after Roberts posted a three to be 53-48 as the quarter finished. A three-point-play completed by Babrauskas put Rytas within just three points, 54-51 early in the last quarter Blakney drained a triple to excite the crowd and posted 2 from the foul line after stealing a ball for a 59-51 advantage. Just when it seemed allw as lost for Rytas, Predrag Samardziski converted an offensive board and Seibutis made a jumper to stay within 59-55 and force the hosts to call timeout with three minutes left. Free throws by Babrauskas cut the difference to just a point, 59-58, with two minutes on the game clock. Then Seibutis capped a 9-0 run to put his ahead 59-60. Chalmers missed and at the other end, an offensive rebound by Roberts gave the opportunity to Seibutis to draw a foul and score a pair from the foul line for the 59-62. However Lokomotiv awoke just in time. Blakney scored free throws for 61-62, Rice turned over the ball with 12 seconds on the game clock and Blakney scoring 1 more to tie the game at 62-62, but missed the second to go ahead. Babrauskas missed the final three and the game went to an extra session.
A Bykov jumper brought the hosts’ confidence back and after Traore rejected Saibutis, Rivers added 2 from the line. Lawrence Roberts scored on the offensive glass to get Rytas going, but Bykov countered from downtown and after Valanciunas fouled out with a charge, Traore lifted the lead to 71-64. Mindaugas Katelynas came in and scored a pair from the charity stripe, but free throws by Bykov and Traore kept the hosts in charge and Rytas never mounted another run.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012