Babbitt, Thompson lead NN to big road win
Nizhny Novgorod had a strong start in Last 32 Group L by topping Panionios Athens 75-89 in the Greek capital on Wednesday. Luke Babbitt and Dijon Thompson paced the winners with 17 points apiece. Taylor Rochestie had 16 for NN, that played without star center Primoz Brezec. Erick McCollum led Panionios with 31 points. Landon Milbourne added 15, Alexandros Kiritsis had 14 while Kevin Langford got 10 for the hosts. McCollum gave Panionios an early 9-4 lead but Dimitry Khvostov and an outstanding Rochestie fueled a 2-15 run which allowed NN to keep a 17-24 margin after 10 minutes. Milbourne led a 9-0 run which put Panionios back ahead, 26-24, early in the second quarter. NN found a go-to guy in Vadim Panin, who got plenty of help from Thompson and Rochestie to give their team a 42-47 edge at halftime. Panionios improved its defense after the break, as Langford and Milbourne allowed the hosts to tie the game, 59-59, late in the third quarter. Thompson and Babbitt led a 2-11 run that put NN ahead for good, 61-70, with 7 minutes left. NN boosted its margin to 68-84 and cruised to a good-as-gold road win.
Pavel Korobkov got NN going with a reverse layup that McCollum matched with a mid-range jumper, igniting a 6-0 Panionios run that he capped with an acrobatic basket. McCollum struck from downtown but Evgeny Baburin and Khvostov fueled an 0-8 run that Babbitt capped with a five-meter jumper for a 9-12 NN edge. Langford made free throws but Rochestie singlehandedly boosted the guests' lead to 11-19. Kiritsis and McCollum tried to change things for Panionios but Babbitt and Rochestie kept NN way ahead, 17-24, after 10 minutes. Milbourne scored in the paint early in the second quarter, igniting a 9-0 run which he capped with a triple to make NN call timeout at 26-24. Panin rescued the guests with a layup and Khvostov erased Vasileios Symtsak's jumper with a tip-in. Panin hit a three-pointer, McCollum and Thompson made foul shots and an off-balance jumper by Kiritsis kept the hosts within 32-33. Korobkov scored again and soon added a three-point play for a 35-41 NN lead. McCollum followed a one-handed floater with free throws but Panin and Rochestie restored a 40-47 NN edge. Free throws by McCollum fixed the halftime score at 42-47.
Langford made free throws right after the break but Semen Antonov scored down low for a 44-49 NN lead. Kiritsis hit a close jumper and a dunk by Milbourne ignited the crowd at 46-47. Antonov kept pacing NN with free throws, Babbitt hit a jumper and Kiritsis brought Panionios within 52-53. Babbitt and Milbourne traded baskets and a free throw by Kiritsis tied it at 55-55. Antonov and Rochestie allowed NN to regain the lead, 57-59, but a jumper by Milbourne tied the game again, 59-59. Thompson dunked and a tip-in by Babbitt restored a 59-63 NN lead after 30 minutes. Thompson hit a mid-range shot that Marc Antonio Carter erased with a slam. Thompson insisted with a finger-roll layup which Babbitt followed with a three-point play for a 61-70 NN lead with 7 minutes left. Milbourne dunked but Khvostov did better with a triple to make it a double-digit game, 63-73. McCullom stepped up with 5 unanswered points but Panim and Thompson boosted their team's lead to 68-80. Nothing changed in the final 4 minutes, as NN kept a safe margin all the way until the final buzzer.
Wednesday, January 8, 2014