Lokomotiv crushes Antwerp on record night
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar found no resistance at Lotto Arena on Wednesday night in grabbing a 94-114 road win in which it set several team and individual records. The visitors trashed Antwerp in the first half and headed the locker room with a 32-point advantage (39-71) that was never jeopardized. Lokomotiv earned its fourth win in a row to threaten Segafredo Virtus Bologna’s lead in Group C, while the hosts remained winless in last place. Alan Williams paced the winners on a magic night in which he penned career-highs in points (27), rebounds (17) and PIR (36). Mantas Kalnietis also set a career-high and club record with 15 assists, while Will Cummings tallied 22 points in just 16 minutes and Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Jordan Crawford added 19 each. Ibrahima Faye posted a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds on the losing side, as did David Dudzinski with 21 and 10. They were followed by Speedy Smith, who had 22 points and 7 assists and Vrenz Bleijenbergh, who scored 11.
The visitors converted on all but one of their first seven possessions with Williams running the show. The center scored 9 points in a 3-12 opening run that prompted an urgent timeout by Antwerp. Vincent Kesteloot and Dudzinski tried to get the hosts going, but Kuzminskas showed up with 8 points in a row, including back-to-back triples, to make it 8-20. Cummings extended the gap to 10-29 with Lokomotiv scoring at will against Antwerp’s soft defense. Faye and Smith took over then and helped the hosts to trim the deficit to 22-35 at the end of the first quarter. Nothing changed early in the second as Cummings pulled the strings, both scoring and assisting, to give Lokomotiv a 30-50 advantage. Things got even worse for the hosts when Crawford joined the party from behind the arc to raise the difference to 35-63. A three-point play by Kuzminskas, followed by free throws from Williams and a deep three by Crawford closed the first half with Lokomotiv comfortably in front, 39-71.
Crawford opened fire with another triple after the break. Kuzminskas added a pair of free throws and Kalnietis hit from downtown to dig the hosts even deeper, 39-79. Even though Antwerp got its offense going with a triple by Bleijenbergh and a jumper by Kesteloot, Lokomotiv kept rocking with Williams ruling inside for a 44-88 lead midway through the third quarter. With the outcome no longer in doubt, the visitors slowed down their scoring as the hosts managed to reduce the gap 62-95 at the end of the third quarter. Cummings and Kuzminskas were the only ones able to score for the visitors early in the last quarter, allowing Antwerp to take some breath pushed by Dudzinski and Faye. 10 points in a row by the latter made it 84 -106 with 3 minutes remaining, but that was the closest Antwerp could get until Faye nailed a buzzer-beater three-pointer to finish the game with a clear 94-114 victory for the visitors.
The visitors had an impressive start to the game, displaying incredible shooting accuracy from every place. Thanks to that they broke their highest scoring record in a quarter not once, but twice in the game. Their previous best mark was 34 second-quarter points against ALBA Berlin in 2017-2018, but in this game, they collected 35 in the first quarter and 36 in the second to put the game on ice in just a half, while also setting a EuroCup record for the biggest halftime lead by a visiting team, 32 points.
Antwerp joined in
The hosts had never scored more than 76 points so far this season, as they ranked second last in the team rankings with an average of 69 per game. Even though they didn’t excel in the first half, they went for 23 points in the third quarter and 32 in the last to finish with 94.
The visitors operated as a perfect engine, from the first to the last part of their machinery. Starting from the point guard position, from where Kalnietis set Lokomotiv’s assist record with 15, to the center spot, in which Alan Williams trashed all his opponents grabbing a career-high 17 rebounds to tie the club record. If you add that that team shot 50% from behind the arc, collecting 12 triples, it is no wonder that Lokomotiv was able to snap club records in scoring (114) and index rating (140).
Lokomotiv will return home in Round 7 to host Virtus Segafredo Bologna on Wednesday, November 11, which could be a decisive game for first place in the group. Antwerp will travel to Andorra to take on Morabanc the day before, looking for its first win of the season.
Wednesday, November 4, 2020