Lokomotiv Kuban is the new Eurocup champ!
PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar is the 2012-13 Eurocup champion! Lokomotiv conquered its first-ever continental trophy by downing Uxue Bilbao Basket 64-75 in the Eurocup Final at the RTL Spiroudome in Charleroi, Belgium on Saturday. Lokomotiv became the fourth Russian team to win the competition - after Dynamo Moscow, Unics Kazan and BC Khimki Moscow Region - and earned the right to play in the 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Head coach Evgeny Pashutin gets his second title, having also won with Unics. Richard Hendrix led the way for Lokomotiv with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. Aleks Maric had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds and Nick Calathes had 10 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 37 minutes. Bilbao was led with 16 points from Kostas Vasileiadis and 11 from Milan Rakovic, but suffered most from 34% two-point shooting (15 for 44). A three-pointer by Raul Lopez gave Bilbao a 17-16 lead after 10 minutes and Adrien Moerman soon boosted his team's margin to 22-16. It didn't last long, as a three-pointer by Nick Calathes sparked a 0-11 run in which Hendrix had 4 points to give Lokomotiv a 30-38 margin at halftime. A jumper by Brown gave Lokomotiv its first double-digit lead, 31-42, midway through the third quarter and by the middle of the fourth, his team had doubled it by holding Bilbao scoreless for 4 minutes and getting a rainbow triple from Simas Jasaitis at 45-65. Bilbao fought back, but ran out of time, as Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar goes home to Russia with the 2013 Eurocup trophy!
Hendrix got Lokomotiv going with a big block on Lamont Hamilton before Mantas Kalnietis beat the shot clock with a running jumper to open the scoring. Kostas Vasileiadis answered from downtown for a 3-2 Bilbao lead. Kalnietis kept pacing Lokomotiv with a driving layup and Hendrix soon gave the guests a 3-6 margin. Derrick Brown scored around the basket and an unstoppable Kalnietis added a fastbreak layup to force Bilbao to call timeout at 3-10, after an 0-8 run. Axel Hervelle stepped up with a back-door layup and Alex Mumbru bettered Hendrix's close basket with a three-pointer. A step-back jumper by Lamont Hamilton soon brought Bilbao as close as 10-12. Simas Jasaitis scored in penetration and Brown added a huge dunk to give Lokomotiv some fresh air at 10-16. Bilbao tried to improve its ball circulation by bringing Raul Lopez off the bench. Milovan Rakovic shined with a tip-in and Mumbru added a big basket in the low post to keep Bilbao within 14-16. Lopez buried Bilbao's third triple to give his team the lead back, 17-16, at the end of the first quarter.
Bilbao tried twin point guards at the start of the second quarter, with Nikos Zisis and Lopez together on court. When Adrien Moerman downed a three-pointer and soon added a driving basket, Bilbao had the clear momentum at 22-16. Sergey Bykov banked in a close shot for Lokomotiv, Roger Grimau answered with a jumper in the lane and free throws by Brown kept Lokomotiv within 24-20. Hendrix stepped up with a layup but Lokomotiv could not get Nick Calathes involved due to Zisis's active, on-the-ball defense. However, after Grimau and Aleks Maric traded layups, Bykov soon tied it at 26-26. Hamilton scored in the low post, but a triple by Calathes - his first points - put Lokomotiv back ahead, 28-29. Hendrix followed a dunk with a layup that forced Bilbao to stop the game with a timeout at 28-33. Jimmy Baron and Maric made free throws to cap a 0-11 run, as Bilbao kept struggling to score, missing 8 consecutive shots and committing 3 turnovers until Vasileiadis hit an off-balance jumper. A free throw by Jasaitis fixed the halftime score at 30-38 with Lokomotiv back in control.
Both teams struggled to score after the break until Moerman split free throws. Lokomotiv had tried to run its offense through Maric without much success so coach Evgeny Pashutin brought Hendrix back in the game. Brown hit foul shots and followed that with a mid-range jumper which gave Lokomotiv its first double-digit lead, 31-42. Vasileiadis tried to ignite his team's comeback with a three-pointer that Calathes erased with a layup-plus-free throw. Lokomotiv kept following its game plan, using long possessions and trying to get its big men involved. Moerman made free throws, Kalnietis shined with a big basket in transition and Lopez brought Bilbao a bit closer, 38-47. Hendrix dunked again, Vasileiadis hit a catch-and-shoot jumper and a layup by Maric restored a 41-51 Lokomotiv edge. Vasileiadis kept pacing his team with free throws, Maric split attempts from the foul line and a layup by Rakovic gave Bilbao some hope at 45-52. Hendrix rescued Lokomotiv with a layup for a 45-54 score after 30 minutes.
Maric made free throws early in the fourth quarter, as Lokomotiv tried a smaller lineup with Calathes, Kalnietis and Bykov together on court. Meanwhile, Bilbao tried to open the floor with Mumbru at power forward. Calathes downed a three-pointer which made Bilbao call timeout, 45-59, with over 8 minutes left. Jasaitis split free throws and a tip-in by Maric seemed to seal the outcome, 45-62. Bilbao struggled to find the way to the basket for more than 4 minutes and a rainbow triple by Jasaitis made it a 20-point game, 45-65. Bilbao kept fighting, however, as Vasileiadis hit 3-of-3 free throws which Rakovic followed with a layup for a 50-65 deficit. Lokomotiv called timeout and started to run the game clock down. Rakovic hit a jump hook and soon added a three-point play and although Bilbao would get as close as 60-67 in the last minute, it was already too little, too late for his team. At the free throw line, Lokomotiv put the wraps on its first Eurocup title - and a ticket to the 2013-14 Turkish Airlines Euroleague!
Saturday, April 13, 2013