Khimki edges Fenerbahce Ulker on Rivers’s buzzer beater
K.C. River’s buzzer-beating shot lifted BC Khimki Moscow Region to a thrilling 71-70 victory over Fenerbahce Ulker on Thursday evening in Russia. Rivers managed to grab the ball after Sergey Monya missed a three-pointer and threw it up a fraction of a second before the red light on the backboard lit up to signify the end of the game. The thrilling victory puts Khimki into second place in Group A with a 4-2 record, while Fenerbahce drops to 3-3. Khimki started the second quarter with a 14-2 run to open up a double-digit lead, but the visitors erased it midway through the third quarter and the game was destined for a dramatic ending. Rivers finished as Khimki’s top scorer with 14 points, Vitaly Fridzon scored 12 and Zoran Planinic had 11 points. For Fenerbahce, which was without star point guard Bo McCalebb, David Andersen led visitors with 17 points plus 7 rebounds while Bojan Bogdanovic and Ermis Baris each scored 11 in defeat.
First quarter: Andersen helps Fenerbahce to narrow lead
Romain Sato got Fenerbahce on the board first with a put-back, but Petteri Koponen sank a three-pointer and Kresimir Loncar hit a fadeaway jumper as the hosts grabbed a 5-2 lead. After a slow start, both teams found offensive rhythm midway through the first quarter. Rivers scored twice inside for hosts, but Bogdanovic answered with a fastbreak dunk and Andersen got Fenerbahce going with a jumper and a triple for a 9-12 advantage. After that, the teams kept exchanging leads. Rivers dunked and Paul Davis hit a pair of mid-range jump shots to put Khimki in front, while on the other end Andersen and Bogdanovic scored inside and an Oguz Savas layup gave Fenerbahce a 17-18 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: A 14-2 run puts Khimki in control
Vitaly Fridzon opened the second quarter with a triple that sparked a 14-2 run. After a Bogdanovic slam, Davis, Zoran Planinic and Fridzon all scored inside and Sergey Monya hit a three-pointer and then a long jumper as the hosts surged to 31-20. Fenerbahce was held without a single basket for almost five minutes before Andersen once again gave his team a lift. This time big man got help from Mike Batiste and Sato to cut the deficit to 33-26. However, Rivers and Alexey Zhukanenko hit triples to push the lead back into double figures and send Khimki into the break with a 39-29 advantage.
Third quarter: Fenerbahce closes the gap
A triple from Sato started things in the third quarter and Bogdanovic added a pair of driving layups – and converted the second one into a three-point-play to bring Fenerbahce within 2. Planinic scored Khimki’s first field goal after more than four minutes of the third quarter, then added a layup-plus-foul. Matt Nielsen’s jumper and Fridzon’s layup extended the hosts’ lead to 48-39. The visitors had an answer in Baris Ermis, though, as he drove for three layups and scored 7 points before the end of the quarter. With baskets from Andersen and Preldzic in between, Fenerbahce got within 54-51 before a Nielsen layup made it 56-51 after the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: Rivers the hero in thrilling finish
Preldzic scored a fastbreak layup at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and Batiste added a basket-plus-foul to make it 57-56. Davis hit a tough turnaround baseline jumper to keep Khimki in front, but afterwards Fenerbahce’s defense held the hosts without a field goal for more than three minutes. Ermis and Onan tied the game at 60-60, and Preldzic split free throws to put Fenerbahce up by 1 point. Planinic drove the lane for a layup and then assisted Fridzon for a triple and a 65-61 Khimki edge, however Preldzic and Ermis made layups before Onan sank a shot from downtown for 67-68. Loncar hit both free throws, but Andersen answered with a put-back making it 69-70 with 55 seconds to go. Play continued as the coaches decided not to call timeouts. Loncar and Andersen were again in leading roles, this time both missing from close range, which left Khimki with 9 seconds to go the full length of the floor. Monya released and misfired on a three-pointer, but in the big crowed in the paint Rivers managed to get to the ball and shoot just in time before the buzzer to bring Khimki a huge victory.
Thursday, November 15, 2012