Lokomotiv downs Antwerp in opener
Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar came up with an ideal start to its 2020-21 campaign by defeating Telenet Giants Antwerp 89-72 at home in Group C. Jordan Crawford led the way with 21 points for Lokomotiv, which crashed out in the regular season last season - the club’s worst performance in the competition. Alan Williams tallied 19 points and 9 rebounds and Will Cummings scored 17 points for the 2013 champion. Speedy Smith was Antwerp’s leading scorer with 15 points to go with 10 assists and 2 steals. Stephaun Branch picked up 13 points and David Dudzinski chipped in 12 points in the loss.
Ibrahima Fall Faye's putback was Antwerp’s first score of the season with Williams doing the honors at the other end. Antwerp was held scoreless for 3 minutes and a Cummings three-pointer helped Lokomotiv move ahead 7-2. Vincent Kesteloot scored twice at the other end and Dudzinski’s three-pointer knotted the game at 11-11 with a third Kesteloot score made it 12-15. Grigory Motovilov’s triple got the hosts within 17-18, but Smith hit a buzzer-beater and Antwerp led 17-21 after 10 minutes. Cummings and Williams sparked Lokomotiv early on in the second quarter with 11 points combined in a 13-5 run for a 30-26 lead. Antwerp fought back with a 0-6 surge with Kesteloot contributing a putback. Crawford’s three-point play ended the guests’ mini-run and he added back-to-back triples to put Lokomotiv up 39-37. Dudzinski and Dennis Donkor punched back with threes and Antwerp led 40-45 at intermission.
Lokomotiv had the better start to the second half and another three-pointer from Crawford evened the game 47-47. An unsportsmanlike foul committed by Smith resulted in a five-point possession for Lokomotiv and a 53-49 lead. Dudzinski temporarily tied the game at 53-53, but Mindaugas Kuzminkas converted a three-point play and Stanislav Ilnitskiy drained back-to-back triples as Lokomotiv went up 62-54. Smith once again finished a quarter with a three-pointer, beating the buzzer to get Antwerp within 62-57 after 30 minutes. Vrenz Bleijenbergh started the fourth quarter with a three-pointer and Roby Rogiers trimmed the deficit to 65-64. But former EuroCup champion Cummings tallied 5 straight points in an 11-0 charge to move ahead 76-64 halfway through the final frame. Branch was able to trim the deficit to 78-68, but Williams, Crawford and Cummings all came up with baskets as Antwerp could not come up with stops.
Better defense in second half
After giving up 21 and 24 points in the first two quarters respectively, Lokomotiv allowed just 27 points total in the second half.
Alan Williams was excellent all game for Lokomotiv, tallying 19 points - including hitting 7 of 9 free throws - to go with 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks and 9 fouls drawn for an index rating of 30.
Lokomotiv committed just 9 turnovers while forcing 16 Antwerp turnovers and also shot well from outside, hitting 8-of-15 three-pointers (53.3%). Neither head coach will be happy with his team’s showing from the free-throw line: Lokomotiv connected on only 17 of 29 (58.6%) and Antwerp hit only 7 of 17 (41.2%).
Antwerp returns home and will welcome MoraBanc Andorra for its next game on Tuesday, October 6. Lokomotiv will head out on the road to take on Virtus Segafredo Bologna the following evening.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020