BC Khimki became the first team to reach the Last 16 after downing PAOK Thessaloniki 89-65 on Tuesday afternoon in Group B. Khimki is still unbeaten with a 4-0 record, while PAOK has just one win so far. Thomas Kelati led five Khimki scorers in double figures with 16 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting, Vitaly Fridzon bagged 14, Sergey Monya and Zoran Planinic netted 13 apiece, while Kresmir Loncar amassed 13 points and 11 rebounds. Dimos Dikoudis scored 13 points for PAOK, Rashad Wright added 11 and Michalis Giannakidis 8. A 14-2 second-quarter Khimki run made it 36-23 at halftime. Marcus Goree closed the gap to 45-41 early in the third quarter, but a 24-2 Khimki charge closed the contest and sent the hosts to the next round with a 69-45 lead after 30 minutes.
Giannadikis opened the scoring from downtown, before Loncar put Khimki up 4-3. JR Giddens scored hit a jumper, but Fridzon countered with 5 straight points to be on top 11-9 midway through the quarter. Chris Quinn and Giannakidis exchanged layups, then Planinic went to play down low and used his size to complete a three-point-play for 18-16. After Sergey Monya scored and free throws by Giannakidis and Dikoudis, the scoreboard showed 22-18 after 10 minutes. Quinn extended the cushion to 24-18, before Dikoudis converted an assist from Giddens and added a free throw and Kelati opened fire from beyond the arc twice to push the margin to 31-21. Fridzon capped a 14-2 run with easy points on the break and a 36-23 lead. PAOK did not give up, and Martynas Andriuskevicius dunked to make it 36-29 and force coach Kurtinaitis to call timeout. The answer came quickly from Planinic from mid-range, but the guests found a steal and layup from Dante Stiggers. A layup from Fridzon and a free throw posted by Giddens fixed the final 40-32 for Khimki at halftime.
Rashad Wright and Goree drained back-to-back threes early in the third quarter to climb within 45-41, but 4 points in a row by Loncar from the foul line and a layup established a 52-43 advantage for Khimki. Fridzon, still on fire from three-point land, pushed up the hosts again over double figures, then they continued to run and Kelati capped a 16-0 run from long distance to lead 64-43 with three minutes left. Goree scored in the paint, but Loncar and Kelati finished with 5 more points the quarter for a huge 69-45 lead. Ioannis Kalampokis climbed within 72-50, but Monya extended again the margin to 79-53 from beyond the arc and essentially ice the win.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011