|PBC Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar struck first in the two-game Eurocup Semifinals by downing Valencia Basket 87-97 in the opener in Spain on Wednesday. Lokomotiv takes a 10-point lead into the deciding game next week in Krasnodar, Russia. The aggregate winner will move on to the Eurocup Final next month in Charleroi, Belgium. Simas Jasaitis led the winners with 23 points on a Eurocup semifinals record 7 three-pointers. Derrick Brown added 19 points, Mantas Kalnietis scored 17, Richard Hendrix 14 and Nick Calathes contributed 8 points and 9 assists. Justin Doellman paced Valencia with 28 points, Pau Ribas added 20 points and Bojan Dubljevic 17. Lokomotiv got off to a strong start and a three-pointer by Jasaitis gave his team a 5-13 lead. Valencia improved off a timeout, but Calathes and Aleks Maric allowed the guests to get an 8-point lead after 10 minutes. Dubljevic shined early in the second quarter and a 6-0 run that Doellman capped with a layup forced the guests to call timeout at 38-39. Sergey Bykov and Kalnietis helped Lokomotiv stay ahead, 43-45, at halftime. Doellman and Ribas completed Valencia's comeback, 50-49, right after the break. It didn't last long, however, as Kalnietis led a 2-15 run that put Lokomotiv ahead for good, 52-64. Hendrix and Jasaitis boosted the guests' lead to 58-76 after 30 minutes. Lokomotiv led by 18 with five minutes left before Ribas, Doellman and Rodrigo San Miguel carried Valencia to within 87-91. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jasaitis allowed Lokomotiv to cruise to a well-deserved win.
Hendrix got Lokomotiv going with a layup, but Doellman answered from downtown for an early 3-2 Valencia lead. Jasaitis swished a catch-and-shoot three-pointer in a very physical start to the game. Brown dunked and free throws by Serhiy Lishchuk kept the hosts within 5-7. Hendrix kept pushing Lokomotiv with a two-handed slam, Kalnietis split free throws and Jasaitis downed his second triple, causing Valencia call timeout at 5-13, after a 2-11 run. Ribas tried to change things with a three-pointer and Thomas Kelati scored off a midcourt steal to keep Valencia within 10-13. Jasaitis buried a triple that hit the rim, went up and fell down. Doellman nailed a long two-pointer, but Calathes found Hendrix for a dunk and added his own reverse layup for a 12-20 Lokomotiv lead. Dubljevic nailed one from beyond the arc. Brown hit free throws, San Miguel scored in penetration and a jump hook by Dubljevic kept the hosts within 19-22. Calathes shined with a driving layup and Maric followed a put-back basket with a three-point to give the guests a 21-29 lead after 10 minutes.
Dubljevic sank a jump hook early in the second quarter, but Jasaitis did even with his fourth three-pointer. Ribas stepped up with a fast break layup and Dubljevic followed a close basket with free throws to bring Valencia as close as 29-32. Valencia tried a tall lineup with Flo Pietrus at small forward guarding Jasaitis. Calathes found Jimmy Baron for an open three-pointer but Dubljevic hit another jump hook. Kalnietis took over with a reverse layup, Lishchuk split free throws and a jumper by Kalnietis boosted Lokomotiv's lead to 32-39. San Miguel shined with an off-balance driving shot and Lishchuk scored down low for a 36-39 Valencia deficit. Doellman ignited the crowd with a follow-up layup that caused Coach Evgeny Pashutin to stop the game, 38-39. Lokomotiv struggled to score for more than three minutes until Bykov changed things with a driving layup. Kelati buried his trademark jumper off the dribble, Bykov made free throws and San Miguel brought Valencia within 41-43. Kalnietis scored around the basket and free throws by San Miguel fixed the halftime score at 43-45.
Hendrix dunked immediately after the break, but a three-pointer by Ribas and a fast break layup by Doellman put Valencia back ahead, 48-47. Hendrix kept pushing Lokomotiv with a second-chance basket that Ribas erased with a fast break layup. Kalnietis banked in an off-balance shot and followed it with a close basket in a 0-6 run that Jasaitis capped with a tip-in for a 50-55 Lokomotiv margin. Doellman hit a turnaround jumper, but a red-hot Kalnietis beat the shot clock with a floating shot. Brown finished a broken play with a baseline jumper and a three-point play by an unstoppable Kalnietis made it a double-digit series, 52-62. Maric capped a 0-9 Lokomotiv run with free throws, as Rafa Martinez rescued Valencia with a three-pointer and Doellman added a breakaway dunk to cause the guests to stop the game at 57-64. Lokomotiv found a new go-to guy in Brown, who nailed back-to-back jumpers for a 57-68 score. Hendrix dunked again and a three-pointer by Jasaitis broke the game open, 57-73. Lishchuk and Kalnietis traded free throws and a put-back basket by Hendrix boosted Lokomotiv's margin to 58-76 through three quarters.
Doellman sank a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter, as Valencia tried to speed up the game tempo. Doellman added a fast break basket, which saw Lokomotiv stop the game at 63-76. Calathes found Brown for a five-meter jumper and added a coast-to-coast layup that kept Lokomotiv out of trouble, 63-80. Dubljevic scored in the paint, Brown made free throws and picked up a length-of-the-court pass from Calathes to dunk for a 65-84 Lokomotiv margin with less than seven minutes left. Doellman nailed a triple. Lokomotiv started to slow down the tempo to run the game clock down. A fast break layup by Calathes caused Coach Velimir Perasovic to call timeout, 68-86, with five minutes left. Ribas made free throws and bettered Maric's close basket with a three-pointer. Brown silenced the crowd with a dunk-and-foul, but Ribas followed a layup with a three-point play to give Valencia some hope at 78-91. Lokomotiv could not find the way to the basket and 5 unanswered points by Doellman brought Valencia back in the series, 83-91, with 1:27 to go. San Miguel charged the crowd with a steal and layup-plus-foul and Doellman banked in a close shot to make it a 4-point series, 87-91. Jasaitis rescued Lokomotiv with back-to-back triples to seal his team's win in style.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013