BC Khimki, in its first game under new coach Russell Bergman, took a huge 101-77 home win over Lukoil Academic in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday to advance from Group B to the ULEB Cup elimination. Khimki ended its first-ever ULEB Cup regular season with 5-5 record, good for second place in the group, tied with Hapoel. Due to having won both its games with Hapoel, Khimki won the tiebreak between them.. Lukoil finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with Alba Berlin and Oostende, all with 4-6 records, but was eliminated due to a tiebreak. Alba was 3-1 between those tied teams and advanced. It marked the first time in its four ULEB Cup seasons that Lukoil failed to reach the elimination rounds. A huge 19-5 run late in the first quarter sent Khimki on its way to victory as the difference never dipped below double digits again. Khimki enjoyed amazing three-points accuracy all night, nailing 9 of its 12 long-range attemtps in the first half and finishing with 13 of 20 for the game. Vladimir Veremeenko led Khimki with 18 points. Maciej Lampe added 16 with 6 rebounds, Melvin Booker 14 and 5 assists. Kelly McCarty chipped in 12 and Ruben Wolkowyski added 11. Donta Smith led all scorers by netting 22 points for Lukoil. Lamont Jones added 20 with 5 assists for the guests, while Georgij Cekovski posted 11 with 8 rebounds.
Mate Skelin scored in the paint and Lamont Jones from downtown to give an early 2-5 advantage to Lukoil, but it was not long before Booker tied it from downtown. Donta Smith and McCarty exchanged baskets before Vladimir Veremeenko scored a triple to give Khimki its first lead, 10-9. But the hosts were not done. Back-to-back three-pointers by big man Ruben Wolkowyski pushed Khimki further in what finished as 13-3 blast capped from the foul line by Vereemenko to make it 20-12. Cekovski tried to keep Lukoil on track but another bomb of Booker extended the margin and yet another from Wolkowyski built the first double-figure advantage, 26-14. Veremeenko made a dunk to close the amazing 19-5 run with Khimki fully in charge already, 29-14, after one quarter. Smith opened the second-quarter scoring from downtown for Lukoil and was soon copied by Riste Stefanov, showing that the guests were still alive at 31-20. Oscar Torres came off the deep Khimki bench to respond with 5 consecutive points that kept his side comfortably ahead at 34-20. Maciej Lampe and Boris Gorenc stepped up now for Khimki, boosting the hosts to an amazing 40-20 advantage. All-time ULEB Cup leading scorer Todor Stoykov bagged his first basket of the contest and Jones got an offensive rebound to score and make it 40-25. It was just a mirage, however, because McCarty soon gave Khimki its biggest lead yet, 50-25 with a dunk. Stoykov and Jones put their pride on the court, but McCarty finished the half in style for Khimky, with his team's ninth strike from downtown, fixing the halftime scoreboard at 53-29.
Booker put an end to 2 scoreless minutes at the start of the second half by increasing the margin to 55-29. Stoykov hit a three-pointer for Lukoil and Skelin underneath to make it 57-34 before Veremeenko downed Khimki's 10th triple of 15 tries as the lead hit 60-34. He would add 4 more points before taking a seat on the bench for the rest of the game with the difference at 66-37. Jamel Brown and Cekovski scored a pair of jumpers for the guests, but the night was proving to be all Khimki as Gorenc beat the third-quarter buzzer with another bomb for a 30-point margin, 75-45. Lampe and Ademola Okulaja kept Khimki rolling as margin rose to 89-53 midway through the final quarter. Lukoil kept battling, but the home team was already celebrating the qualification with its fans.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007