Spartak St. Petersburg took a step forwards to qualify to the Eurocup Quarterfinals and win Last 16 Group K by downing Krka Novo Mesto 68-81 in Slovenia on Tuesday. Spartak improved to 3-0, stayed undefeated in the 2011-12 season and could qualify to the Quarterfinals as soon as next week. Krka dropped to 0-3 and may be out of the Quarterfinals race if it loses against Spartak in Russia next week. Loukas Mavrokefalidis led the winners with 20 points. Patrick Beverley added 13 while Vladimir Dragicevic had 12 for Spartak. Smiljan Pavic led Krka with 15 points. Afik Nissim, Zoran Dragic and Jure Balazic each had 11 for Krka, that trailed 18-20 early in the second quarter. Mavrokefalidis and Beverley stepped up to give Spartak its first double-digit lead, 28-39 at halftime. Spartak, led by its big men, kept a double-digit lead throughout the third quarter and boosted it to 50-72, enough to seal the minute minutes before the final buzzer.
Kashirov got Spartak going with back-to-back jumpers but Balazic and Nissim stepped up to give Krka its first lead, 5-4. Kashirov scored again but a three-point play by Pavic restored an 8-6 Krka edge. Mavrokefalidis and Dragicevic shined with consecutive baskets and a three-pointer by Beverley gave Spartak a 8-13 margin. Dragicevic sank a jumper to cap a 0-9 Spartak run. Balazic followed a triple with free throws but Dragicevic scored in the paint and Viktor Keyru struck from downtown for a 13-20 Spartak edge after 10 minutes. Simon Petrov sank a jumper early in the second quarter and a triple by Edo Muric kept Krka within 18-20. Mavrokefalidis and Jure Lalic exchanged baskets but Dragicevic and Beverley soon made Spartak get a 20-27 margin. Dragic followed free throws with a layup but a jumper by Mavrokefalidis and a dunk by Aleksey Zozulin kept the guests way ahead, 24-31. Spartak kept its frontcourt involved, as Mavrokefalidis and Miha Zupan helped the guests to make it a nine-point game, 28-37. A layup by Beverley boosted Spartak's lead to double digits, 28-39, at halftime.
Balazic sank a jumper immediately after the break but a free throw by Kashirov and a triple by Beverley gave Spartak a 13-point lead, 30-43. Yotam Halperin buried a jumper - his first points - but Pavic and Nissim kept Krka within 34-45. Mavrokefalidis followed a layup with free throws and soon scored again for a 36-51 Spartak margin. Pavic tried to change things with a layup but Spartak keep feeding its big men around the basket, as Mavrokefalidis and Dragicevic made it a 17-point game, 38-55. Dragic and Pavic stepped up for Krka but Janis Strelnieks buried a three-pointer for a 45-60 score. Free throws by Nissim brought the hosts within 47-60 after 30 minutes. Zozulin buried a triple early in the fourth quarter while free throws by Halperin and Mavrokefalidis sealed the outcome, 48-67, with over 7 minutes left. Uros Lucic hit a jumper but Zupan bettered it with a three-pointer and Beverley added free throws for a 50-72 Spartak lead. The guests started to use longer possessions and Krka only rallied when everything was said and done.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012