BC Donetsk moved into first place in Group J with a resounding 85-67 victory over BC Khimki, which was also the visitors’ first loss of the Eurocup season. Donetsk and Khimki are now tied with 3-1 records, but the 18-point margin of victory for Donetsk trumped the 13 that Khimki won by in their previous meeting and thus gives Donetsk the tiebreak advantage over Khimki. Vule Avdalovic and Ramel Curry scored 18 points apiece to pace Donetsk, which never trailed after the first quarter. The hosts also enjoyed a 34-20 rebounding advantage thanks in part to big man Darnell Jackson, who contributed 10 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks for the winning team. Ivan Radenovic added 13 points – including 5 late that helped secure the win and tiebreak margin. Egor Vyaltsev paced Khimki with 19 points, Zoran Planinic recorded 16 points and 6 assists and Sergey Monya netted 12 in defeat.
Khimki’s defense set the tone in the opening minutes and thanks to Dimitry Khvostov, who assisted to Vyaltsev before scoring himself, it was 0-4 after two-and-a-half minutes. Michael Lee netted Donetsk’s first basket and after a Curry triple, Avdalovic evened the score from the line, 8-8. Avdalovic then put the hosts on top for the first time. After ties at 10-10 and 12-12, Donetsk jumped ahead 17-13 on a Jackson basket inside, but Alexey Zhukanenko closed the gap to 19-18 by the end of the first quarter. Viacheslav Kravtsov scored in transition and later from the line as Donetsk built a small cushion. Planinic kept Khimki in the picture, but an Avdalovic layup and a Jackson tip-in made it 30-23 midway through the second quarter. Vyaltsev brought the visitors back within 4 when he hit from downtown, but Jackson and Lee kept the hosts rolling and eventually Avdalovic’s floater made it 40-29. Triples by Vyaltsev and Monya helped close the gap, but Vojdan Stojanovski’s free throw sent the teams to halftime at 43-35.
Kresimir Loncar heated up in the third quarter and together with Monya rallied Khimki within 45-42. Another Monya strike followed by a Vyaltsev layup evened the score at 47-47. Dmytro Gliebov scored and Stojanovski nailed a three to put Donetsk back in front. Avdalovic and Curry matched Loncar and Stojanovski’s through the end of the quarter, 59-52. Planinic opened the fourth quarter with an important hoop, but a scoring drought ensued for both teams as single free throws from Maksym Pustozvonov, Jackson and Gliebov proved the only points over the next three-plus minutes. When Jackson finally scored Donetsk’s first basket of the quarter, the difference was 10 again. The Curry connected from downtown to make it 67-54 midway through the fourth quarter. Planinic’s best efforts carried the visitors within 69-61, but Curry answered back with 5 quick points and soon Avdalovic boosted the score to 78-62 with 2:18 remaining, which essentially settled the outcome and made the final minutes more about tiebreakers. Radenovic stepped up with a layup and three-pointer in quick succession to lift the hosts to a 21-point margin with a minute to play, which allowed the fans to start their celebrations early.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012