BC Khimki Moscow started its ULEB Cup campaign in style with an 87-79 home win over former champ Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. Kelly McCarty returned to the competition for the first time since leading Jerusalem to the ULEB Cup with an MVP performance in the 2004 final. This time he torched his former club with four three-pointer and 20 points – including 5 points in the last minute – to lead Khimki. The game was closer than the final score indicates, as the fourth quarter alone saw four ties and two lead changes, before the hosts rode McCarty's late burst to victory. Boris Gorenc scored 14, including a 4-point play that sparked a 12-0 run in the third quarter, Ruben Wolkowyski added 13 and Vladimir Veremeenko had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts. Timmy Bowers led Hapoel with 22, Mario Austin had 20, Jurica Golemac finished with 17 points and 6 assists and Ed Cota had 11 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.
Jerusalem opened the scoring as Meir Tapiro set Austin up for an easy lay-in. Khimki's first points came a minute later as Veremeenko scored on the offensive glass. Another Austin bucket in the paint followed by Cota's penetration made it 2-6. Wolkowyski's dribble penetration was good for a pretty score as a free-flowing game with lots of missed shots ensued. Gorenc tied the game at 8-8 with a fast break slam, but Jerusalem pulled away again as Austin outran the Khimki big men for an easy layup. Gorenc's buzzer-beating jump shot made it 14-15 after 10 minutes. Maciej Lampe's first points gave the hosts their first lead at the start of the second period. Lampe heated up and traded baskets with Hapoel's hot hand, Bowers, as the teams remained neck and neck. A Bowers score followed by an Austin triple made it 22-27, but Gianmarco Pozzecco answered with a three to keep it close. Back-to-back threes by the visiting big men, Austin and Golemac gave Hapoel its biggest lead, 32-39, but Oscar Torres hit a jumper and Melvin Booker drained a three as Khimki remained close behind. Booker brought the hosts within 2 with a flick with 5 seconds left, but after a timeout, Bowers raced through the Khimki defense to score and give Jerusalem a 39-43 lead at halftime.
The teams came out of the locker rooms tight, committing turnovers and missing shots on the first few possessions. Bowers broke the ice with a three, but Wolkowyski became the go-to guy for Khimki, scoring inside and then adding a three as the 24-second clock sounded. Golemac made a layup and a jumper to give Hapoel its biggest lead, 44-52. But on the next play, everything changed. Gorenc completed a 4-point play – drilling a three-pointer, drawing Matan Naor's fourth foul and sinking the resulting free throw – Veremeenko added a triple, Gorenc made two free throws and then Pozzecco completed a 12-0 run with a three that made it 56-52. After a Jerusalem timeout, Tapiro made a three for his first basket of the night. But Khimki continued to pull away, with Gorenc taking a steal coast-to-coast for dunk and then McCarty bagging a three to give the hosts their biggest lead, 68-59. Golemac scored from the line and then on a layup from Tapiro, before Cota wound up with a loose ball on the edge of the three-point line and beat the third-quarter buzzer with a three that made it 68-66 after 30 minutes. Bowers tied things with a long jumper at the start of the fourth quarter, but McCarty corrected a Khimki miss to keep his team ahead. Reserve center Erez Marckovich scored 2 inside and Austin's third three put Hapoel up 70-73, but Wolkowyski drilled his second three to tie it again. McCarty was next for a three as Khimki went ahead and after Austin made two from the line, Booker's triple made it 81-77. Jerusalem showed signs of tiredness and McCarty went for the kill, hitting a jumper on top of Bowers and then adding a triple from the corner that made it 86-79 with 45 seconds to go, essentially sealing the win for Khimki.