Lokomotiv uses late run to snag first place in Group D
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar used a 15-2 fourth-quarter run to take control en route to a 79-72 home win over Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade on Friday. The win – Lokomotiv’s third in a row – lifted Coach Evgeny Pashutin’s team into sole possession of first place in Group D with a 5-1 record. Meanwhile Zvezda slipped to 2-4 with the loss. Derrick Brown paced the winners with 16 points, Marcus Williams tallied 13 points and 8 assists, Richard Hendrix also scored 13 and Krunoslav Simon netted 10. Marko Simonovic made 4 of 5 threes off the bench for 12 points for the visitors, Blake Schilb added 11 points and 6 assists and Charles Jenkins finished with 10 points in defeat. After a 0-11 first-quarter run put the visitors ahead, Lokomotiv’s terrific three-point shooting – 8 of 10 from downtown in the first half – gave the hosts a 39-35 halftime advantage. The lead went on to change hands 10 times in the second half until Mantas Kalnietis put Lokomotiv ahead for good with a layup midway through the fourth quarter that was part of a 15-2 game-winning charge.
First quarter: Zvezda uses 0-11 run to move in front
Brown drained an open three to start the scoring and then pulled up for a jumper and a 5-0 lead. Brown showed his skills on the defensive end too when he blocked Boban Marjanovic. Schilb came up with a steal and made a perfect downcourt pass to Branko Lazic for an uncontested layup. DeMarcus Nelson added a jumper before Schilb gave the visitors a 5-6 lead with a long jumper. Luka Mitrovic took the ball away from Hendrix and Lazic drained a three in transition at the other end. Marjanovic capped a 0-11 Zvezda run. Simas Jasaitis sank a three from the corner to revive the Lokomotiv fans. Marcus Williams pulled up for a three to tie the game at 13-13. After Rasko Katic scored for the visitors, Krunoslav Simon buried a triple to put the hosts in front. Ivan Radenovic came off the bench and scored twice for the visitors. A pair of Simon free throws kept the hosts close, 18-19, through 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Late threes ensure Lokomotiv lead at half
Valeriy Likhodey’s three put Lokomotiv back on top briefly before Katic muscled his way inside to tie the game at 21-21. Charles Jenkins sank a short jumper in the paint as the lead continued to sway. Williams made it 24-23 with a three, then Jenkins’s long jumper had Zvezda back in front. The game was knotted at 27-27 after Jasaitis’s second three, but Katic answered quickly with a bucket in the low post. Brown heated up with a pair of scores to give Lokomotiv a 2-point lead. Nelson shined with a basket – in which he switched hands mid-air – plus a foul. Brown countered with a three-point play. Jasaitis’s layup in transition put Lokomotiv up 5. Williams connected from deep to give the hosts their biggest lead yet, 39-31. Simonovic made a triple and Marjanovic scored from the line as Zvezda halved its deficit to 39-35 at the break.
Third quarter: Multiple lead changes as game stays tight
Jenkins picked up a loose ball and coasted for an uncontested layup for the first points in the second half. Brown scored in the lane at the other end. A Marjanovic follow-basket cut the gap to 2 before Likhodey countered with his second three of the game. Schilb and Radenovic brought Zvezda within 44-43. Jenkins got to the line, from where he gave the visitors a narrow lead. Sergey Bykov fed Hendrix for a vicious two-handed slam – plus foul, however a Schilb triple made it 47-48. Brown scored on the ensuing possession but then Hendrix was called for his fourth foul. Mantas Kalnietis hit a big three and Hendrix scored from close range to make it 54-50. After Katic and Hendrix traded free throws, Simonovic connected from downtown. After Hendrix scored in the paint, Schilb drove the paint to make it 58-56 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Loko’s 15-2 charge proves decisive
Simonovic third three of the night – on a three-chance possession – gave Zvezda the lead, only until Hendrix scored for the hosts. When Hendrix took a rest, Simonovic drained another three to make it 60-62. Katic doubled Zvezda’s lead, but the crowd was singing again when Likhodey hit back with a triple. Maric split free throws to even the score at 64-64. Simon blocked Jenkins, setting up a Kalnietis layup at the other end and a 2-point Lokomotiv lead. Kalnietis and Williams boosted the lead to 70-64 as the crowd erupted. Jenkins scored to keep Zvezda alive, but a Simon three put the hosts up 7 with just over three minutes remaining. Schilb lost the ball out of bounds with two minutes to go as time started to run out on Zvezda’s chances. Nelson missed a three, Jenkins fouled out and Williams gave the hosts their biggest lead from the line, 75-66, to close out a game-winning 15-2 charge. A pair of quick scores from Barjanovic and Jaka Blazic gave Zvezda a dose of hope – down 5 with 37 seconds remaining. But after a timeout Kalnietis attacked the basket and another Schilb turnover essentially secured the win for the home team.
Friday, November 22, 2013