Fridzon, Wright lift Lokomotiv in Ulm
In a direct battle for second place in Top 16 Group F, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar climbed to 2-1 by downing ratiopharm Ulm 81-84 on the road on Wednesday. Lokomotiv is second, one win behind undefeated leader LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, and Ulm third at 1-2. Vitaly Fridzon led the winners with 24 points and Dorell Wright and Trevor Lacey each had 14 for Lokomotiv. David Kraemer led Ulm with 17 points, Ismet Akpinar added 14 and Patrick Miller had 13 for the hosts. Lokomotiv led 23-26 after 10 minutes and boosted its margin to 57-72 after three quarters.
Fridzon got Lokomotiv going with a three-pointer, but Akpinar and Miller each buried a jumper for a 4-3 Ulm lead. Bogdan Radosavljevic followed free throws with a layup, but an unstoppable Fridzon gave Lokomotiv a 10-15 lead. Jamel McLean took over with a three-point play and a dunk, which Dmitry Khvostov followed with a triple for a 15-23 Lokomotiv margin. After Akpinar struck twice from downtown, Fridzon buried another from beyond the arc to keep Lokomotiv ahead, 23-26, after 10 minutes. Lacey struck three times from beyond the arc in a 1-11 run that caused Ulm to call timeout at 26-39. Kraemer and Miller tried to change things for the hosts, but an unstoppable Fridzon and Dorell Wright restored a 41-53 Lokomotiv margin at halftime. Akpinar nailed his fourth three-pointer soon after the break, but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, Vladimir Ivlev and JaJuan Johnson boosted their team's lead to 44-59. Miller followed free throws with a three-point play and Kraemer added a triple to bring Ulm within single digits, 52-61. Ponitka hit free throws and Fridzon downed a three-pointer, but Kraemer and Ryan Thompson kept Ulm as close as 57-66. Fridzon and Lacey fueled a 0-6 run that made it a 15-point game, 57-72, after 30 minutes. Stanislav Ilnitskiy sank a corner triple early in the fourth quarter. Javonte Green brought Ulm a bit closer and Per Guenther had 5 points in a 7-0 run that gave Ulm hope at 68-75, with over 6 minutes left. Green dunked, Kraemer added a layup and a driving basket by Maximilian Ugrai prompted the guests to call timeout at 74-77. Thompson hit free throws to make it a 1-point game, but Wright swished a turnaround jumper and Johnson copied him on the next offense for a 76-81 Lokomotiv edge with 30.6 seconds left. Ulm got within 79-82 and Miller missed from downtown. Wright drew a foul and calmly made free throws to seal the outcome, 79-84, with 9.2 seconds to go.
Wright made just 2 of 11 field goal attempts in this game, but was Lokomotiv's glue guy. He finished the game with 16 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 6 fouls drawn and a performance index rating of 16. With the game on the line and Lokomotiv desperately needing points, Wright downed a big turnaround jumper that helped his team to regain momentum.
Ulm managed to get within 76-77 in the next-to-last minute. Wright took over with a wild turnaround jumper late in the shot clock and Johnson hit a similar shot soon after that to seal the outcome, 76-81.
Lokomotiv won the battle under the boards, outrebounding Ulm 31-41. The guests pulled down 31 defensive rebounds, matching its season high - it also had 31 against Arka Gdynia in Round 1 of the regular season.
Did you notice?
Fridzon had a new EuroCup career-high scoring night - 24 points, beating a personal mark that was almost a decade all. His previous best scoring night was against Panellinios Athens, playing for Khimki Moscow Region, on February 24, 2009. He had 21 points that day.
Both teams meet again at Basket Hall in Krasnodar, Russia on Wednesday, January 23. If both Lokomotiv and ASVEL win, both teams will qualify and Ulm and Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt will be eliminated from eighthfinals contention.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019