Lokomotiv rolls Slask, 68-98, to stay unbeaten
Lokomotiv Krasnodar Kuban claimed a convincing 68-98 road win over Slask Wroclaw at Hala Orbita on Wednesday evening. The visitors used a 3-15 run to go ahead 13-26 in the first quarter and another 0-14 spark early in the second to confirm a 32-49 halftime advantage that the hosts never jeopardized. Errick McCollum paced the winners with 22 points -- including 17 in the first half -- while Jonathan Motley had 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Zakhar Vedischev provided 4 three-pointers in his debut game this season, Darius Thompson chipped in 11 points, and Alan Williams collected 11 boards in 10 minutes for Lokomotiv, which remains unbeaten at 4-0 in Group A. Slask Wroclaw, whose record dropped to 0-4, was led by Travis Trice, who signed off 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He was followed by Kodi Justice and Lukasz Kolenda, who scored 12 and 10, respectively, while Cyril Langevine posted 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
McCollum scored Lokomotiv's first 5 points and later added a smooth jumper to build a 6-11 lead. Justice and Langevine combined to reduce the gap to 1 point, but Stanislav Ilnitskiy showed up from deep to make it 10-14. After a short stoppage, McCollum nailed a three that Motley followed with free throws to extend the margin to 10-20. Lokomotive nursed its lead at the foul line to hold a 17-27 advantage after 10 minutes.
Aleksander Dziewa opened fire in the second with a layup, but Motley and Thompson sparked a 0-9 Lokomotiv run to make it 19-36. Slask's timeout didn't change the trend, as Andrei Martiuk and Vedishev dug the hole deeper, to 19-41, soon after. Trice and Michal Gabinski tried to reanimate the hosts, but another jumper by McCollum and a buzzer-beating bucket by Stanton Kidd closed the first half with Lokomotiv settled in at 32-49.
Trice took the reins right after the break and boosted Slask on an 8-3 run that forced Lokomotiv to call timeout at 40-52. Kidd ended the guests' scoring drought with a three-pointer. Ivan Paunic soon scored a layup to restore a comfortable 40-57 edge for Lokomotiv midway through the third quarter. Kolenda joined in to help Trice on offense, but Kidd connected from downtown and provided another basket for a 51-71 margin entering the fourth period.
Back-to-back triples by Ilnitskiy and Sasha Shcherbenev ripped it open more, 51-77, with 8 minutes to play. Justice would lead the last Slask attempt to cut into its disadvantage, but Lokomotiv's youngsters came up big and used the remaining minutes in the quarter to show their skills and keep the guests above the 20-point difference.
McCollum set the tone for Lokomotiv
Errick McCollum became the crucial weapon and the go-to guy of his team in Wroclaw -- just not as he usually does, taking and making big shots at the end of the game. This time, McCollum took the reins from the very beginning; he scored Lokomotiv's first 5 points and more than half of its first-quarter total of 27. He added 4 more in the second period and 5 in the third, all of which proved sufficient to help Lokomotiv confirm a 20-point edge and allow head coach Evgeny Pashutin to give some rest to McCollum and other starters at the end of the game.
Loko's youngsters seized the opportunity
Given that Lokomotiv had secured the victory long before the final whistle, Pashutin granted some playing time to youngsters like Sasha Shcherbenev, Kirill Elatonstsev and Zakhar Vedishev. All of them had solid impact on the court, as Vedishev scored 14 points in just 11 minutes, connecting on 4 three-pointers in his second 7DAYS Eurocup game ever. Shcherbenev played a little bit more (15:25) and used that time to nail a three and dish a career-high 7 assists. Finally, Elatontsev grabbed 3 rebounds and blocked 1 shot in 5:54.
By the numbers: Efficiency over volume
The hosts put in a big effort on the offensive boards all night long, but it didn't pay off as expected. Slask grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, but those turned into just 11 second-chance points. On the other end, Lokomotiv took 1 rebound less (16) but used them to collect 24 points, which made the difference. The guests were more accurate, too, when it came to exploiting their opponent's mistakes. Loko made 28 points off 16 Slask turnovers while the hosts converted only 13 points from Loko's 13.
Wednesday, November 10, 2021