Lokomotiv roars into quarterfinals
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar advanced to the 7DAYS EuroCup Quarterfinals by downing ratiopharm Ulm 88-76 at home on Wednesday. Lokomotiv improved to 3-1 in Top 16 Group F and qualified to due to its 2-0 record against Ulm, which is third in the group at 1-3. LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne (4-0) also qualified with this result, while Ulm and Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt (0-4) are eliminated. Dorell Wright led the winners with 20 points and Vitaly Fridzon, Mateusz Ponitka and JaJuan Johnson each had 10 for Lokomotiv. Javonte Green paced Ulm with 16 points, Ryan Thompson added 13, Dwyane Evans 12 and Maximilian Ugrai 10 for the visitors. Lokomotiv led 26-24 after 10 minutes, extended its margin to 52-38 at halftime and then again to 71-54 at the end of the third quarter to cruise to a well-deserved win.
Johnson swished a jumper and consecutive layups by Vladimir Ivlev and Fridzon gave Lokomotiv a 6-2 lead. Bogdan Radosavljevic stepped up for Ulm and even though Fridzon struck from downtown, so did Thompson and Green for an 11-12 score. Dmitry Khvostov hit a triple and Ponitka added an acrobatic layup that caused the guests to call timeout at 16-12. Evans took over with a three-point play and Thompson added his second triple, but Wright and Stanislav Ilnitskiy kept Lokomotiv ahead, 23-22. Thompson hit a running jumper, but a free throw by Dragan Apic and a buzzer-beating jumper by Dmitry Kulagin restored a 26-24 Lokomotiv lead after 10 minutes. Ugrai followed free throws with a triple for a 28-29 Ulm lead early in the second quarter. Wright struck twice from downtown and Fridzon and Ponitka each added another one before Ulm stopped the game at 41-36. Fridzon hit free throws and three-pointers by Lacey, Johnson and Kulagin broke the game open at 52-38 at halftime. Per Guenther tried to ignite Ulm's comeback with a corner triple soon after the break. He got help from Gavin Schilling and Thompson to bring the guests a bit closer, 55-49. Kulagin rescued Lokomotiv with a triple and Johnson scored in penetration. Apic scored down low and three-pointers by Khvostov and Wright boosted the hosts' margin to 71-54 after 30 minutes. Nothing changed from that moment, as Wright stayed on fire from beyond the three-point line, allowing Lokomotiv to keep a safe lead until the final buzzer.
Dorell Wright shot 1 of 8 from downtown in Ulm, but bounced back in style, hitting 6 of 8 shots from beyond the arc on his way to 20 points. He added 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and 4 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 23 in just 22 minutes.
The game was tied at 31-31, but six different Lokomotiv players – Dorell Wright, Vitaly Fridzon, Mateusz Ponitka, JaJuan Johnson, Trevor Lacey and Dmitry Kulagin – struck from beyond the arc in the next five minutes, allowing Lokomotiv to grab a 52-38 halftime lead.
Lokomotiv had 15 first-half assists, outrebounded Ulm 20-11 before the break and buried 10 of 14 three-point shots (71.4%). Rebounds, supreme ball circulation and accuracy from beyond the arc allowed Lokomotiv to control the game and eventually qualify for the quarterfinals.
Did you notice?
Lokomotiv hit 17 three-point shots in this game to set a new club record. The previous mark was 15 three-pointers against Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir on December 17, 2014, and against ALBA Berlin on December 5, 2017. Only Unicaja Malaga – with 18 against Fiat Turin on December 29, 2018 – has made more three-pointers in a EuroCup game this season.
Both teams return to 7DAYS EuroCup action on Wednesday. Ulm visits Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt before Lokomotiv visits ASVEL in a direct battle for first place in Group F.
Wednesday, January 23, 2019