Umana Reyer Venice hosts Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar on Wednesday evening in a pivotal game for both teams. Reyer, which has won four games in a row, cannot advance to the Top 16 this week, but a win would put it on the verge of a spot in the next stage. Its last loss came in Round 2 at the hands of Lokomotiv 77-63. Sam Dekker shined with 15 points for the winners that night. Lokomotiv has now dropped three straight decisions.
The matchup in the paint will be an interesting one; Reyer’s Mitchell Watt comes off a career game with 27 points on nearly perfect shooting plus 5 rebounds and 5 assists to win MVP of the Round honors. Lokomotiv's Alan Williams is third in the competition in rebounding (8.2 rpg.). They are players with different styles, but a big game from either player could have a major impact on the outcome.
Keys to victory: Reyer
Reyer has not been in a game decided in the final seconds yet this season, but its free-throw struggles (59.8%) could be a problem in such a contest. Both teams have committed 14.2 turnovers so far this season; if Jeremy Chappell, Julyan Stone and co. can limit those turnovers, it will be a boon for the hosts.
Keys to victory: Lokomotiv
Lokomotiv is in a tough spot playing against a great defensive team which has held teams to 30.2% three-point shooting. Lokomotiv is shooting only 30.7% on threes and is now without injured sharpshooter Vitaly Fridzon. The struggles from the outside have hindered Lokomotiv's strong frontline because defenses have been able to pack the paint. A good shooting night from Dmitry Kulagin, Mantas Kalnietis and Will Cimmings could shake things up.