Khimki beats Lietkabelis, advances to quarterfinals
Khimki Moscow Region punched its ticket to the 7DAYS EuroCup quarterfinals by downing Lietkabelis Panevezys 77-89 on the road on Wednesday. Khimki improved to 4-1 and will battle for first place against FC Bayern Munich at home next week. Lietkabelis dropped to 1-4 and was mathematically eliminated from reaching the next phase. Alexey Shved led the winners with 23 points and 8 assists, Robbie Hummel added 20 points, E.J Rowland scored 18 and Jacob Pullen tallied 12 points and 8 assists for Khimki. Ben Madgen led Lietkabelis with 23 points, Simas Galdikas added 14, Darjus Lavrinovic 11 and Zygimantas Skucas 10, while Lorenzo Williams dished 12 assists for the hosts. Khimki had 8 assists and 5 steals in the first quarter, in which it used a 0-12 run to take a double-digit lead, 15-28. Khimki kept pushing on defense and forced Lietkabelis into 16 first-half turnovers. The visitors hit 17 of 24 two-point shots (70.8%) and 4 of 10 from downtown (40%), dished 13 assists and made just 5 turnovers for a 30-53 margin at the break. Lietkabelis managed to get within 66-71 early in the fourth quarter, but Hummel and Rowland took over in crunch time to keep Khimki out of reach until the final buzzer.
Shved struck from downtown and Rowland added a fast break slam for an early 0-5 Khimki lead. Magden followed a jumper with a triple and back-to-back baskets by Simas Galdikas put Lietkabelis in charge, 9-7. Shved and Rowland kept pacing Khimki, but a layup by Donatas Tarolis kept the hosts within 15-16. It didn't last long, however, as an unstoppable Shved and Pullen combined for 8 points in a 0-12 run that gave Khimki a double-digit margin, 15-28, after 10 minutes. Gintaras Leonavicius and Darjus Lavrinovic tried to change things for Lietkabelis early in the second quarter, but a jumper by Pullen ignited a game-breaking 0-15 run in which Hummel had 5 points for a 19-43 Khimki lead. Galdikas dunked and Madgen hit a couple of jumpers, but Shved hit another three-pointer and Rowland followed a backdoor layup with free throws to keep the guests way ahead, 30-53, at halftime. Galdikas and Leonavicius stepped up for Lietkabelis after the break, bringing their team a bit closer, 40-58. Williams and Madgen each struck from downtown to make it 48-61. Shved buried consecutive jumpers and got help from Hummel and Rowland to restore a 52-69 Khimki lead, which Madgen and Williams cut to 57-69 after three quarters. Lietkabelis found a go-to guy in Darius Lavrinovic, who singlehandedly brought the hosts within 66-71 early in the fourth quarter. Hummel stepped up with a corner three-pointer and a layup, which Shved followed with a floater to seal the outcome at 70-82. Lietkabelis kept fighting, but Khimki had cruised to a well-deserved win, which Rowland sealed in style with a big slam.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017