Another fine scoring performance by Lionel Chalmers kept the Quarter-Final hopes of Enisey Krasnoyarsk alive as they picked up a vital 89-77 win over Antwerp Giants in the penultimate round of the last sixteen.
Chalmers was red-hot from the perimeter and buried five triples as the hosts made a statement of intent from the tip-off. While Brandon Gay opened the account of Antwerp with a three-pointer inside the first minute, it was the only time the visitors would have a lead in the game.
The home team raced into an early 25-11 lead and within four minutes of the second quarter had increased their advantage to 38-20 after a strong 9-3 run. While Antwerp huffed and puffed, they couldn't get back into the game ahead of half-time and still trailed by 49-37.
However straight from the interval, the visitors gave the home team a real scare when they opened up with the first 8 points of the half but their hopes of a revival were short-lived as the
Home team regained their composure to ease away and keep the Belgian club at arms length until the final buzzer.
Kaspars Kambala underlined the dominance of Enisey with an impressive double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while Gay was the top scorer in the game with 23 points for Antwerp
Antwerp Giants head coach Eddy Casteel:
"We had two objectives here, to win the game and to remain positive. We were only two seconds short to win the game. But we stay positive. There are more games to play, so we keep playing."
"There are only nine players, let's say five and four players that could have helped us. These five players they keep surprising me every day. It's character and identity of these players they really go all the way every game regardless of the circumstances.
"We were a little short of energy. We knew that Krasnoyarsk play very dominant in the first quarter. But we fought ourselves back in the game and out of five players we have two major ones, Moors and Hopkins maybe 60 or 70 per cent. So it's amazing how in third quarter we could get back into the game and almost achieve our goal. We stayed alive untill the end of the game to qualify. Five players cannot play for the whole game. My opinion that these five players don't have the same intensity they had in the beginning.
Enisey player Frederick Warrick:
"It was a tough game. We started well in the first half but they kept fighting, they played hard. We missed some shots in the second half and that held us down. But we made a few three-pointers, key rebounds. And they got close in the fourth quarter. You know, we had to win ten points, and so we did.
"There were a few problems, when I came from the bench. I tried to bring some energy. And I made few assists, so that my team mates could make open shots, that changed the rhythm of the game."
Enisey head coach Ainars Bagatskis:
"Fred was failing in the first half, but in the second he and Savkov led us forward. It is hard to play against Antwerp, all five players can shoot any moment, they don't think of wheather they will make it and play relaxed game.
First two quarters we played very well, thanks to Komarovsky we were very aggressive with penetrations and playing down-low. But that takes a lot of strength. So Andrey did not have it for the second half. We had to play big men. Bad then our playmakers kept forgetting about Kambala, they were trying to score, to make their statistics. So we did not make those shots and Belgian team caught the spirit."