Lokomotiv In The Final

29.04.2011

EuroChallenge

Lokomotiv Kuban beat Russian rivals Spartak Saint-Petersburg 74-64 in the opening game of the EuroChallenge Final Four on Friday.

Jeremiah Massey poured in 21 points and Lionel Chalmers 20 for Lokomotiv, who now await the winner of the second Semi-Final between hosts BC Oostende and KRKA Novo Mesto.

Kestutis Kemzura's team took an 18-6 lead seven minutes into the contest with Chalmers and Massey giving Spartak fits and the defense of the Krasnodar outfit causing Zvi Sherf's team nothing but problems.

Chalmers repeatedly dribbled into the lane and scored on drives and Massey also hurt Spartak both with his inside game and a three-pointer.

They combined for 13 of the points in that early surge.

The insertion of Aleksey Kotishevskiy and Miha Zupan swung the momentum to Spartak, though, with both players increasing the intensity on defense.

Spartak reeled off nine unanswered points at the end of the frame with Pero Antic drilling a shot from the arc, Anton Ponkrashov nailing a jumper and Patrick Beverley hitting a pair of free-throws.

Beverley connected from long range at the beginning of the second quarter to knot the game at 18-18, only for a basket by Alexey Surovtsev and a three-ball from Chalmers to eventually take the Lokomotiv advantage back to 25-18.

Spartak's defense, especially with Petar Popovic diving for loose balls and both he and Zupan playing strong down low, allowed them to go on another run.

When Domercant hit a three with 6:23 left in the first half, Spartak had their first lead at 26-25.

It proved to be their only advantage.

Grigory Shukhovtsov, Massey and the excellent Alando Tucker (twice) replied with jump shots as Lokomotiv went back in front 33-26.

A Massey shot from the arc in the last minute would end up giving Spartak a 41-30 lead and also took his points haul to 12.

Chalmers had a game-high 14 at the break.

Spartak, who won the Russian Cup, played with a sense of urgency early in the third quarter and got a baseline jump shot from Antic and lay-up from Domercant to shave four points off the deficit, only for Lokomotiv to stop the run.

Massey hit a tough shot in the lane and after Antic had a reverse two-handed dunk, Surovtsev and Tucker hit lay-ups.

Twice in the fourth quarter, Spartak reduced the deficit to six, the second time after Beverley had to be helped off the floor with a twisted ankle.

Nikola Dragovic responded to his teammate's exit by hitting back-to-back three-balls to make it 67-61 and force a timeout by Lokomotiv.

Tucker then turned the ball over, but Domercant missed from long range and Lokomotiv kept their noses in front.

Antic finished with 14 points and nine boards and Beverley had 13.


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