Lokomotiv Kuban took a huge step towards a place in the semifinals after downing Buducnost Voli Podgorica 54-72 in Game 1 of their quarterfinals series in Montenegrin capital on Wednesday. The deciding Game 2 of the two-game series will be played in Krasnodar, Russia, in one week, and victory or a loss by up to 18 points will be enough for Lokomotiv to advance. Buducnost never trailed in the first half, but Lokomotiv used an 8-26 third quarter to grab full control of the game and race to a huge victory. Derrick Brown led in victory with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Nick Calathes scored 15 while Mantas Kalnietis and Andrey Zubkov chipped in with 10 apiece for Lokomotiv which was without it starting center Aleks Maric. For the hosts, Cedomir Vitkovac was the only scorer in double figures with 14 points, and he also grabbed 7 rebounds. Dusko Bunic had 9 points plus 7 rebounds, and Nikola Ivanovic netted 7 in defeat.
Aleksa Popovic started the scoring with a driving layup, before Simas Jasaitis opened Lokomotiv's account with a reverse. Buducnost went in front 7-2 after Ivanovic’s triple and Vitkovac making a couple of post moves, but the visitors stayed within single possession with put-backs from Jasaitis and Brown. With tough defenses controlling the paint on both ends, baskets did not come often before Bunic strung together 6 points for 15-8 lead after the first quarter. Brown got Lokomotiv going in the second quarter with a long jumper and a dunk, before DeMarquis Bost scored a driving layup and a three-pointer to keep Buducnost up, 20-14. After Kalnietis and Jasaitis made tough baskets, Brown added a monster-dunk to his tally. The hosts kept the lead through Gerald Lee and Strahinja Milosevic, but Maxim Sheletko sank Lokomotiv’s first three-pointer and Brown continued his domination from mid-range making it 28-25 at halftime.
Lokomotiv grabbed its first lead of the night, 28-29, with a fastbreak layup from Calathes and Richard Hendrix scoring from close range. Buducnost struggled offensively as the hosts’ lone field goal in the first seven minutes of the third quarter came on a Vladimir Mihailovic layup. Meanwhile Calathes made a couple more baskets and assisted Brown for an alley-oop dunk, 32-37. The margin grew larger as Lokomotiv’s defense produced blocked shots and steals that launched fastbreaks resulting in a Hendrix dunk and Kalnietis layup, extending the lead into double figures. Bunic snapped the 0-10 run with a put-back, but Calathes sank a triple for 34-46 and Andrey Zubkov scored from downtown at the end of the third and at the start of the fourth for 38-54. Vitkovac briefly kept the hosts’ hopes alive, but layups from Hendrix and Calathes made the margin 18 points. As the quarter progressed, Buducnost mainly scored point from the foul line, while Calathes and Brown increased the lead to 49-70 before Marko Mugosa cut the deficit with a jumper and a triple at the very end.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013