Lokomotiv Kuban wrapped up a spot in the Eurocup Quarterfinals and then learned it clinched first place in Group L after Lietuvos Rytas defeated Benetton Basket. Lokomotiv survived Alba Berlin’s late comeback for a 73-70 win, which gave it a 4-2 record in Group L. As a result, Lokomotiv will face fellow Russian side BC Khimki in the Quarterfinals. Lokomotiv dominated early and was up 39-20 midway through the second quarter. Berlin battled back and even took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Ali Traore came alive with 7 quick points to give Lokomotiv a late cushion, which it needed as Berlin never let up until the final buzzer. Jeremiah Massey starred for Lokomotiv with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. Rod Blakney added 13 points for the winners. Da Shaun Wood paced Berlin with 19 points, Bryce Taylor tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Weaver finished with 13 points in defeat.
Berlin jumped out to a 0-3 lead after a Wood free throw and a Taylor basket on the offensive glass. Lokomotiv tied it with a Maxim Grigoryev three-pointer and moved ahead on Massey’s first basket. After Wood tied the score at 7-7, the hosts reeled off 7 straight points for a 14-7 lead on another Grigoryev three. Massey soon added a three and a basket-plus-foul by Grigory Shukhovtsov made it 20-11. Marko Simonovic split free throws before Shukhovtsov scored to give the hosts a 10-point lead after 10 minutes, 22-12. Massey hit back-to-back threes to open the second quarter as Lokomotiv threatened to put the game away early. Simonovic continued to score for Alba, but Massey remained unstoppable for the home side. A Maxim Sheleketo layup lifted the edge to 39-20. Taylor tried to carry Berlin back and Derrick Allen free throws narrowed the gap to 40-31. And a Weaver triple just before the end of the half closed the deficit to 41-34 at halftime.
Shukhovtsov restored Lokomotiv’s double-digit lead by scoring the first two baskets of the second half. However free throws by Simonovic and Yassin Idbihi were followed by a Taylor three to narrow the gap to 45-40. Massey connected from downtown as the lead grew to 10 again, but Wood and Weaver answered for Berlin. K.C. Rivers’s first basket of the night put the hosts up 52-45, however Alba went on the offensive and Wood carried Berlin within 52-51 at the end of the third quarter. Allen free throws at the start of the fourth quarter gave Alba its first lead since the opening minutes, 52-53. Sergey Bykov put the hosts back on top with free throws and Blakney added a triple soon after. Bykov added more free throws as Lokomotiv kept Alba scoreless for more than three minutes until Idbihi got to the basket. Vlado Ilievski nailed a triple to make it 62-55, but Wood authored 4 points. Traore, who was a nonfactor to this point, came alive with 7 points over the span of one minute as Lokomotiv raced ahead 69-61. Berlin wasn’t done as Taylor, Weaver and Idbihi brought the visitors back within 3. After Massey scored in the final minute, Wood drilled a clutch three-pointer to make it 71-69. Bykov split free throws, so Lokomotiv fouled Wood to ensure he couldn’t tie the game with a three. Wood made the first and missed the second on purpose, but Berlin was unable to get off a game-tying shot and Lokomotiv scored the win and a spot in the quarterfinals.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012