Banvit BK punched its ticket to the Last 16 and then locked up first place in Group E by demolishing Lokomotiv Kuban 79-55 on Tuesday. Despite the loss, Loko also backed into the Last 16 via a three-way tiebreaker that was formed when Gran Canaria beat Fraport Skyliners. Chuck Davis produced 15 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals to lead the hosts, who like Lokomotiv and Granca finished the regular season at 4-2. Kenan Bajramovic added 14 points, Lance Willimas 11, Baris Ermis tallied 10 points and 8 assists and Erkan Veyseloglu and Keith Simmons scored 10 each. Rod Blakney paced Lokomotiv with 12 points and 5 assists.
It was all the home team out of the gate as Ermis sank a three and then fed Veyseloglu before scoring again. Davis made it 9-0 after four minutes. Blakney scored the visitors first 5 points, but a David basket-plus foul kept the hosts up 9. And Veyseloglu stayed hot to give Banvit its first double-digit lead, 20-9. Three free throws from Maxim Grigoryev and a tip-in by Primoz Brezec at the buzzer closed the gap to 22-14 after 10 minutes. Lionel Chalmers nailed a triple early in the second quarter as the visitors trimmed the gap to 4. Bajramovic and Davis kept the hosts in charge at 28-22 midway through the second quarter. But Simmons hit a big three-pointer and was one of four Banvit players to score in a critical 11-2 charge that helped make it 42-29 at halftime.
Jeremiah Massey scored from the line to open the second half, but a Brezec foul on Davis, followed by a technical foul, allowed the Banvit big man to sink 4 free throws and lift the lead to 15 points. Despite a Blakney steal that led to a Chalmers layup, Veyseloglu pumped the cushion to 50-33. Ermis, with his first point since the opening minutes, put the hosts ahead by 20 with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the third quarter. Strong play by Grigoryev gave Kuban hope, but Bajramovic answered twice and Lance Williams free throws made it 62-43 with one quarter to play. Ermis helped extend the lead even further as it became increasingly clear to the fans that a Last 16 ticket was in the mail. Banvit celebrated in the closing minutes with a big win that could be the start of something special this season.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011