Lokomotiv beats Partizan at home for first Top 16 win
Lokmotiv Kuban Krasnodar picked up its first victory in the Top 16 as it fought off Partizan NIS Belgrade 74-67 at home on Wednesday. Will Cummings led the way with 15 points for Lokomotiv, which is now deadlocked in Group F with Partizan and Dolomiti Energia Trento with a 1-2 record. Jordan Crawford added 14 points, Mindaugas Kuzminskas scored 12 points and Mantas Kalnietis contributed 10 points and 4 assists in the win for the 2013 7DAYS EuroCup champion. Partizan could not come up with enough offense despite Novica Velickovic tallying 15 points. Marcus Paige added 12 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and Ognjen Karamaz had 11 points and 6 assists.
Kalnietis opened the scoring with a layup, while Jaramaz had a steal and layup at the other end for Partizan. Crawford netted 7 points for Lokomotiv, but Velickovic tallied 7 of his own and Partizan led 11-14. Lokomotiv was able to keep the guests scoreless for more than 4 minutes and Reggie Lynch had a three-point play in a 7-0 spurt to make it 18-14. Rade Zagorac ended the drought with a three-pointer and Partizan trailed 19-17 after 10 minutes. Grigory Motovilov’s layup to start the second quarter was matched by Nikola Jankovic, but then the guests’ offense stalled. Lynch scored two baskets and Lokomotiv opened a 27-19 lead nearly 4 minutes into the frame. Valerii Kalinov extended the margin to double digits and Crawford’s three-point play made it 34-23. Partizan managed to hold the hosts scoreless for the final 2:37 minutes of the first half and trimmed the deficit to 37-30 at the break.
William Mosley started the scoring in the second half while Lokomotiv needed more than 2 minutes to finally score on Stanislav Ilnitskiy’s three-pointer for a 40-34 lead. But Paige drained 2 triples to knot the game at 40-40. Cummings hit a three-pointer of his own to stop the bleeding but Partizan pulled back ahead on Jankovic’s putback, 43-44. The lead switched hands three times and Kalnietis’s three-pointer was evened by Josh Perkins’s three-point play for a 49-49 score. But an unsportsmanlike foul on Zagorac resulted in 2 Kuzminskas free throws and a Cummings triple to put Lokomotiv ahead 54-49 after 30 minutes. Cummings started the fourth quarter as well and Kalinov increased the margin to 60-49. Jaramaz finally got Partizan on the board after 3 minutes of action. A Kuzminskas triple extended the gap to 65-53, but Partizan would not go down without a fight as Velickovic drained back-to-back three-pointers and was followed by a Jaramaz triple to trim it to 67-62. Kuzminskas answered with another three-pointer and Kevin Hervey’s basket inside made it 72-62 with 3 minutes left. Zagorac hit from deep as Partizan got it down to 72-65, but Cummings punched back with a jumper with 64 seconds left and a 74-65 advantage to decide the game for good.
Partizan missing too much firepower
Partizan just could not find enough firepower as it was without its leading scorer and top assist man Codi Miller-McIntyre. Partizan’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder Rashawn Thomas also missed the game.
Will Cummings not only led Lokomotiv in scoring but he came up with big shots when his team needed it most. He also dished out 4 assists in the important victory.
Lokomotiv connected on 56.8% of its two-pointers compared to 46.9% for Partizan. The hosts also forced 17 Partizan turnovers.
Lokomotiv and Partizan will square off again in their next EuroCup game in Belgrade on Wednesday, February 3.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021