Dynamo Moscow of Russia held on to second place in Group B and put one leg into the Last 16 by topping Barons/LMT Riga of Latvia 84-74. Dynamo will play Lukoil Academic in Bulgaria in the last regular season game, but the Moscow club could qualify already this week if Unics Kazan defeats Academic in Russia. Three days after an impressive 38-point effort in the Russian League, Travis Hansen paced Dynamo with 12 points in the 28-16 first quarter, which turned out to be decisive, as the teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the game. Hansen finished with 22 points and 8 rebounds, Bostjan Nachbar recorded a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, Robertas Javtokas scored 14 and Sergey Monya 11 points for the home-team. Point guard Hollis Price orchestrated Dynamo's offence by dishing 8 assists and scored 5 of his 10 points to deny Barons in the end. Demetrius Alexander had a big game for the visitors with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Charles Rhodes and Kaspars Berzins netted 16 points apiece and Armands Skele added 14. The rest of Barons' players combined for only 3 points.
After an even start, Hansen showed he didn't cool off over the weekend, scoring two straight baskets and then dishing to Monya to give the hosts an early 10-5 lead. Hansen didn’t stop there, connecting on two shots from behind the arc to expand the difference to 16-7. Though Skele answered with a triple on the other end, Javtokas muscled in 6 points to fuel a 10-2 Dynamo surge that made it 26-10. Rhodes managed to finish the quarter strong for the Latvian champs, scoring 6 points to cut it to 28-16 after 10 minutes. Kaspars Berzins and Alexander scored points to give the visitors a perfect second-quarter start, but Price found Javtokas for another layup at the other end as the margin seemed to stabilize at about 10 points. Alexander cut it to 33-27 with 4 points for Barons, but Nachbar matched him and got help from Yuri Vasilyev to make it 39-27. Rhodes stepped up with two buckets for the guests, but Dynamo kept scoring, too. After Darjus Lavrinovic and Skele exchanged threes, Rhodes grabbed an offensive rebound of an Alexander miss and put it in for the 46-38 halftime score.
Monya thrileld the Moscow crowd with a dunk on Dynamo's first possession of the second half. Berzins nailed a triple on the other end, but Barons ddin’t score in the next three minutes, while Hansen, Monya and Nachbar widened the hosts' lead to 55-41. But Berzins kept Barons in the game with another triple and 2 free throws. Rhodes and Alexander combined for the next points for the visitors, but Javtokas and the rest of Dynamo wouldn't allow Barons to come closer than 66-56 with one quarter to play. Alexander opened it with a three and Skele added a two-pointer, but Hansen, Monya and Nachbar more than matched them, as Dynamo seemed to be in control at 73-61, before Skele and Alexander made two triples and it was as close as 75-69 after another basket by Alexander. With three minutes to go, Price delivered a major blow to Baron's hopes with a three-point play for the hosts. After another bucket by Alexander, Monya fouled Berzins hard, and seconds later both players and Rhodes got ejected. Meanwhile, Price didn't miss from the free throw line to make it 80-71, and victory was out of reach for Barons.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009