Lokomotiv's fourth-quarter blast clinches first place
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar stormed from behind in the final quarter on Wednesday to defeat visiting Buducnost VOLI Podgorica 77-66 and clinch first place in Top 16 Group G. Both teams had already advanced to the quarterfinals, but Lokomotiv kept its undefeated season going and at 5-0 in the group will finish first, while Buducnost fell to 3-2 and will now finish second. Buducnost led 48-56 after 30 minutes, whereupon Lokomotiv shed its offensive chains and busted out for a 21-2 run to open the fourth quarter and take the victory. Frank Elegar led the winners with 16 points. Dimitry Kulagin scored 9 of his 14 in those last 10 minutes, which Lokomotiv won 29-10, topping its total for the second and third quarters combined. Trevor Lacey added 11 points, 6 assists and 5 steals, while Mardy Collins had 10 points. Nikola Ivanovic and Sead Sehovic paced Buducnost with 13 points each, with Danilo Nikolic scoring 12 while Nemanja Gordic dished 7 assists.
Both teams came out firing, with triples by Dmitry Khvostov for Lokomotiv and Suad Sehovic for Buducnost leading to a quick 7-7 tie. Justin Doellman's second basket gave Buducnost its first lead, 8-9, before Vladimir Ivlev and Lacey scored next for Lokomotiv. Suad Sehovic made 3 free throws to tie again, 12-12. Chris Babb and Dmitry Kulagin lifted the hosts in front, but Danilo Nikolic took it all back in one four-point play, drilling an inbounds triple and the free throw that came with it. Milic Starovlah then hit another triple and Nikola Ivanovic a jumper as Buducnost held a 20-22 edge after 10 minutes. Danilo Nikolic struck again from deep to start the second quarter at 20-25. Lokomotiv went more than 5 minutes without a field goal until Elegar's hook shot made it 24-25. That sparked a 10-2 run in which Elegar had 6 points and Lokomotiv took a 32-26 advantage. Kyle Landry's 4 points got Buducnost close and Sead Sehovic's coast-to-coast layup to close the half kept the visitors on Lokomotiv's heels, 36-34.
Doellman's second-chance triple gave Buducnost a new lead to open the second half, but Elegar was good for another alley-oop dunk. Suad Sehovic buried his second three-pointer as the lead changed again. Doellman added a baseline jumper at 39-42. Elegar and Danilo Nikolic exchanged buckets before Sead Sehovic struck from deep to make it 43-48. Brian Qvale made his first basket for Lokomotiv but Sead Sehovic was left open for a corner shot and then Ivanovic added his team's 10th triple off the backboard for Buducnost's biggest lead yet, 48-56, after 30 minutes. Elegar's three-point play and a long jumper by Kulagin got Lokomotiv going again to start the fourth quarter and Lacey's three-pointer bounced in to tie the game, 56-56. Two more long jumpers by Kulagin finished Lokomotiv's run at 14-0 before Ivanovic answered. Ryan Broekhoff nailed his first points of the game from deep and Kulagin kept it going with a three-point play to make it 66-58 with 5 minutes left. Next, Lacey pulled the trigger for the game's first double-digit difference, 69-58. Zoran Nikolic's free throws and another triple from Sead Sehovic got Buducnost within 69-63. But Broekhoff answered with a three-point play the hard way and another from downtown as Lokomotiv claimed first place and kept its winless season going strong.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018