Lokomotiv aces home opener
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar gained its first victory of the season by defending its home court with a 77-63 victory over Italian champion Umana Reyer Venice on Wednesday. Lokomotiv's record is now 1-1 while Reyer dropped to 0-2. Lokomotiv broke open a close game with a 13-5 second quarter run and controlled the scoreboard the rest of the way, although Reyer came within 3 points, 51-48, near the end of the third quarter. Sam Dekker missed just 2 shots on his way to 15 points for the winners. Will Cummings and Dmitry Kulagin added 14 each, while Alan Williams had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Austin Daye paced Reyer with 14 points, while Mitchell Watt added 11 and Stefano Tonut 10.
Tonut traded baskets with Cummings and Kulagin to help Reyer tie 8-8 early. Dekker, Dragan Apic and Cummings forged a 6-0 run for Lokomotiv, and when Reyer got back within 14-12, O'Bryant promptly downed 5 points, leaving a 19-14 score after 10 minutes. Watt pulled Reyer closer, Gasper Vidmar tied it up and Daye put the visitors ahead at 25-26. Lokomotiv answered with a 13-5 run in which Vitaly Fridzon had a basket and 3 assists while Dekker downed 6 points, making for a 38-31 halftime lead. A three-point play by Williams meant the game's first double-digit lead, 41-31, right after the break. Lokomotiv kept it rolling to 47-36 before Michael Bramos hit from the corner for Reyer. Kulagin restored a big lead at 51-41, but Vidmar, Day and Bramos cut the difference to 51-48. Mantas Kalnietis struck again from deep to end the third quarter and Cummings drove to open the fourth as the Lokomotiv lead expanded to 58-48. Points came slow for a few minutes, and that hurt Reyer, as Lokomotiv quickly upped its advantage to 67-52 with 3:30 to play, putting the game out of reach.
Forward Sam Dekker was everywhere for Lokomotiv and more efficient than anyone else on the floor. His 15 points came with just 2 misses, while he added 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks, adding up to a game-high performance index rating of 23.
Lokomotiv ruled the boards to the tune of 40-24 overall and 12-3 on the offensive glass. The heavy lifter was Williams, with 13 rebounds in less than 20 minutes, while guards Dmitry Kulagin and Vitaly Fridzon matched the best Reyer big men with 7 each.
Reyer held a 25-26 second-quarter lead when Fridzon took matters into his own hands. He scored a driving layup to take the lead back, assisted Dekker on a dunk and a triple, and threw a full-court pass to Kulagin in a 13-4 run that finished the half and put Lokomotiv in charge for good.
Lokomotiv stays home to host Limoges CSP in Round 3 next Wednesday, October 16. A day earlier, on Tuesday, Reyer returns home to face Tofas Bursa (1-1).
Wednesday, October 9, 2019