Khimki won first place in Group C by outlasting Benetton Treviso 80-71. Khimki led most of the game, but needed to pull away late after Benetton rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Carlos Delfino scored 19 to lead Khimki as it improved to 5-1 and avenged its only loss, which was at Benetton. Kelly McCarty added 18 and Milt Palacio 17, while Timofey Mozgov posted 14 points and 11 rebounds for the winners. Khimki seemed to be in control early and built a 40-28 lead late in the second period, but Andrea Renzi helped keep Benetton within 45-36 at the halftime break. Things looked gloomy for the visitors as Delfino made it 64-48 midway through the third quarter. Benetton never quit and Matteo Soragna and Judson Wallce both rifled in threes in a 0-12 charge to get back in the game. The visitors would eventually tie the game at 66-66, however McCarty scored 6 as Khimki reeled off the game’s next 10 points to regain the momentum and eventually the win. Sandro Nicevic led Benetton with 14 points, Wallace scored 12 and Soragna had 11 in defeat.
The game started with a quick pace as Benetton took an early lead on a Gary Neal three and a Rado Rancik basket-plus foul. Khinki went back on top as McCarty sandwiched a triple and a jumper around a Palacio three-point play to make it 12-8. Neal’s second three kept it close, but Mozgov stepped up, first correcting his own miss for a basket, then driving and drawing a foul and after there coming up with a steal that led to a McCarty three and a 20-15 lead. Delfino and Vitali Fridson extended the lead from downtown, but Wallace continued to battle for points for the visitors. However a Delfino three from midcourt beat the first-quarter buzzer to make it 31-23 after 10 minutes. Soragna hit a three to open the second period, but jumpers from Palacio and Mike Wilkinson kept Khimki in control. A Rancik basket for Benetton didn’t change anything as Palacio scored a basket-plus-foul to make it 40-28. Renzi picked up the scoring slack for Benetton and free throws by Soragna and Wallace made it 45-36 by halftime.
Bobby Dixon fed Nicevic to keep Benetton rolling as the second half opened and after a Dixon triple and a Renzi basket, the visitors had closed the gap to 49-44. Khimki responded with force as Mozgov scored twice – including a dunk in transition – during a 10-0 surge as the hosts regained control. The lead peaked at 64-48 on a Delfino three-pointer and Khimki began to coast. The hosts rested to early as Benetton came back with a run of its own. Soragna and Wallce both rifled in threes as Benetton scored 12 unanswered points to finish the period at 64-60. A Domen Lorbek three narrowed the gap to 2 points a soon Dahasun Wood’s steal created a chance for Wallace to tie the score at 66-66. After a Khimki timeout, Palacio put the hosts back on top with a pair of free throws and McCarty added 2 from the line and a baseline jumper to increase the lead to 6. Benetton used a timeout to reset, but the momentum remained with Khimki as McCarty used a steal and slam and Delfino had a steal and layup to make it a 10-point game. Wallace fired in a three to give Benetton hope, but Palacio sliced through the Benetton defense for a Khimki basket and Khimki held on for the win.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009