Lokomotiv drains 16 triples to down Partizan
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar finished the calendar year on a winning note by outgunning Group A leader Partizan NIS Belgrade 101-94 on Wednesday night. The two teams are now level atop Group A with 6-2 records. They traded leads for much of the first half and the third quarter, but Lokomotiv's long-range shooting made the difference. The hosts made 16 three-point shots on 34 attempts, led by a career-high 33 points from Errick McCollum and point guard Darius Thompson's 10 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Stanton Kidd added 16 points, Quinn Cook finished with 15, and Johnathan Motley had 11 points and 6 rebounds before being ejected from the game early in the third quarter. Gregor Glas paced Partizan with 20 points, Zach LeDay scored 19, Aleksa Avramovic 15, Kevin Punter 14 and Rade Zagorac 11 in a losing effort.
The teams opened the game red-hot. Glas and LeDay made back-to-back threes for the visitors only for Stanislav Ilnitskiy to sink a corner three and Thompson a triple-plus-foul. Back-to-back triples from McCollum made it 17-8 after 4 minutes. However, a triple from LeDay and a long baseline jumper from Yam Madar sparked a 0-7 run for Partizan to close the gap and after Kidd's triple, Partizan scored the last 6 points of the first quarter to take a 22-23 lead.
Punter made a jumper, but McCollum netted his third triple and Motley had a tip-in to put Lokomotiv back in front, 31-29. Zagorac fought for a layup-plus-foul and Glas knocked down another three to send Partizan ahead 31-37. But Motley had another tip-in and a three-pointer before Kidd's corner triple restored Lokomotiv's lead and helped the hosts take a 45-42 advantage into halftime.
The teams kept trading blows in the third. Avramovic tied it with a driving layup before McCollum nailed a jumper and Greg Whittington had a baseline dunk to make it 49-45. After LeDay's baseline basket, Thompson and Zagorac traded triples and a tip-in from Balsa Koprivica put Partizan back in front 53-54. McCollum answered with a long three, and Thompson had a big dunk for the hosts. Glas made back-to-back triples to tie it at 60-60. A dunk from Kidd and a triple from Cook had Lokomotiv back in front and forced Coach Zeljko Obradovic to call a timeout. Cook took it to the rim for a 70-62 cushion in the last minute of the third, before Punter snapped an 8-0 run to end the scoring in the quarter.
A triple from Cook extended the margin to 76-67 in the fourth, but Zagorac answered right back with a three for Partizan. McCollum and Punter traded three-pointers before Avramovic went coast-to-coast to cut it to 79-77 as the game looked as if it is going down to the wire. Glas had a dunk and Nemanja Dangubic drove for a layup to keep Partizan within a single possession, but Whittington and Cook combined for 9 points, including Cook's corner triple, for a 93-86 lead with 2 minutes to go. Kidd's triple 30 seconds later made it 96-88 and he added another one with 1:02 left, giving the hosts the only double-digit lead of the game and sealing the outcome.
Thompson flirts with history
Darius Thompson was everywhere for Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 8. He finished just 1 rebound shy of a triple-double. Playing 29 minutes, Thompson scored 10 points, dished 10 assists and had 9 rebounds for the night. Had he gotten another rebound, he would have been the 10th player to record a triple-double in competition history. Just one of the previous nine has been posted in the last six campaigns and that one was by Promitheas Patras's Vangelis Mantzaris last season.
Maksimovic makes a winning debut
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnidar's interim head coach Branko Maksimovic made his EuroCup debut. The native of Belgrade faced his hometown team, which he has often seen on the opposite sideline during his career. Maksimovic jas previously been a member of the coaching staffs of Partizan's local rivals, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and FMP Zeleznik. Maksimovic's team was red-hot in the game, netting 16 triples, just one away from the club record. The team also scored a season-high 101 points and committed just 10 turnovers. It also overcame the loss of star big man Johnathan Motley, who was forced to leave the game at the start of the third quarter due to accumulating a technical and an unsportsmanlike foul in the game.
More milestones for McCollum
One of the highest-scoring games of the EuroCup season saw five double-digit scorers on each team, all led by Errick McCollum who netted a career-high 33. In 30 minutes on the floor, he made 5 of 7 three-pointers and continued his move up the all-time charts. McCollum now has 1,404 career points, moving past Jamar Smith and with only Bojan Dubljevic (1,492) ahead of him. He also moved ahead of Stefan Markovic into second all-time in total PIR with 1,532. Dubljevic is also the only player ahead of him with 1,736. Finally, McCollum's 5 triples got him to 123 for his career, into 30th place on the all-time charts.
Wednesday, December 22, 2021