Jobey Thomas’s game-winning three-pointer with 4 seconds left gave Benetton Basket a thrilling 70-71 road win over Lokomotiv Kuban on Tuesday in Krasnodar, Russia. The result leaves Benetton and Lokomotiv tied atop Group L with 2-1 records. Thomas led the winners with 22 points on 4-of- 8 shooting from downtown and Sani Becirovic added 17. Vlad Moldoveanu and Ben Ortner scored 12 apiece. Lokomotiv, which suffered its first home loss, got 22 points and 8 rebounds from Ali Traore and 15 with 10 defensive boards from KC Rivers and 13 from Jeremiah Massey. The hosts maintained control of the game in the first half and earned a 47-38 lead early in the third quarter before a 14-1 run for the visitors put them in front 53-55 at the end of the third quarter. A 9-0 run early in the last quarter gave a 62-55 margin to Lokomotiv, but Benetton climbed within 69-68 with seconds left and Traore scored just 1 of his 2 free throws, which left Thomas time to make the game winner from beyond the arc with 4 seconds left.
Back-to-back baskets by Traore gave an early 4-0 advantage to Lokomotiv. Ortner opened the scoring for the guests, and a mid-range jumper by Thomas tied it at 6-6. KC Rivers nailed the first three-pointer of the game, which was copied few seconds later by Massey for 12-6. Becirovic bagged just one of his two free throws, then Rivers and Ortner exchanged jumpers. Nikolay Padius scored 5 points in a row to extend the difference to double figure at 19-9 with three minutes left in the quarter. Traore and Vlad Moldoveanu scored from the top of the key before Thomas fixed the final 21-14 after 10 minutes. A Moldoveanu rocket from downtown made it 23-17 and after free throws from Padius, Thomas hit another three with a perfect stop and pop to finish the break. Jeff Viggiano scored consecutive layups that capped a 12-0 run and gave Benetton its first advantage, 23-26, Lionel Chalmers went all the way for 25-26 and a Rivers jumper gave the lead back to the hosts. Thomas nailed a jumper from mid-range, but Massey used his size in the paint and Rivers his skills from outside for 31-28. Chalmers kept running Lokomotiv after a steal by Rivers, and Traore completed a 8-0 run to give again a comfortable 35-28 lead to the home team. Becirovic ended Benetton’s scoreless run, then jumpers exchanged by Traore and Thomas made it 37-32. Chalmers scored off a screen, then a three-point-play completed by Massey extended to 43-34 the margin for Lokomotiv, Becirovic scored a pair form the line to finish 43-36 at halftime.
Back-to-back baskets by Traore and Rivers extended the margin to 47-38 to open the third quarter. Moldoveanu from three-point land showed that Benetton was still in the game at 47-41. Sergey Bykov from mid-range and Rivers from long distance put again a double digit cushion, 52-41, between the teams. Ortner and Moldoveanu fueled Benetton with a jumper and free throws. Becirovic used the pick-and-roll to score from mid-range, then 4 free throws from him and Ortner and a layup by Thomas after a perfect break capped a 1-14 run for the guests, who finished leading 53-55 after three quarters. Lokomotiv entered the last quarter with a new attitude and sparked a 9-0 run to lead 62-55 with all the points scored by the frontcourt duo of Traore and Massey. Ortner scored the first basket of the quarter for Benetton after more than three minutes. The hosts’ defense prevailed for minutes until Becirovic from the foul line cut the difference to 62-58. Traore remained unstoppable under the boards and scored 4 in a row to launch his side to 66-58. Blakney extended the cushion from mid-range before Becirovic again from long distance scored to make it 68-61. Bentton did not give up and Moldoveanu from the top of the key and Thomas from downtown made it 69-66 with 50 seconds on the clock. Becirovic from the foul line was back closer on 69-68 with 22 seconds left, Traore scored just one of his two then Thomas scored the game winners from three-point land with 4 seconds left.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012