Jaime Lloreda made a grand entrance to Round II of the EuroCup with a 19-point, 19-rebound performance to propel Lokomotiv Rostov to a 76-64 victory over BC Zadar in Group K.
The 2.04m center, a former standout at Louisiana State University and a Panamanian who surely has a chance of representing his country at the FIBA World Championship in Japan next year, showed yet again he is one of the outstanding players in Europe.
Lokomotiv controlled this game with their interior play, with Lloreda doing most of that work. They grabbed 42 rebounds - 18 of them on the offensive boards - to just 25 overall for the visitors from Croatia.
|Young Russian up-and-comer Dmitry Sokolov had a season high 8 rebounds for Lokomotiv|
The Russian team led from start to finish, and it was a burst of points midway through the opening quarter which gave them a comfortable advantage early on.
Lokomotiv led 8-7 when New Zealand international Mark Dickel buried a three-pointer five minutes and 10 seconds in the contest.
Dmitry Sokolov followed with a jump shot for a 13-7 lead.
Zadar's Sinisa Stemberger hit back with a shot from behind the arc to close the gap to 13-10, but Lloreda and Evgeny Voronov finished out the half with back-to-back jumpers.
Zadar, who lost their first three games of the EuroCup but then won three straight to advance to the next phase, were resilient but an Afik Nissim three-pointer with 4:37 to go in the first half stretched Lokomotiv's advantage back to 29-20.
Igor Kudelin, who has been struggling with a groin injury, made a three-pointer at the end of the first half for a 38-28 Lokomotiv lead.
What is clear to everyone in the competition is that Zadar know not the meaning of the word 'quit'.
They went on an 8-0 run early in the second half and trailed by only one at 39-38, the inspirational Todor Gecevski's three-pointer capping the surge.
A Lloreda basket, followed by a three-point play from Konstantine Nesterov and two Dickel free throws stretched the lead to 46-38.
A Nesterov jumper, and then a Voronov three-pointer finished off the spurt.
Zadar were dazed and never recovered.
They did manage to claw their way back to within five points early in the fourth quarter, but the home team twice led by as many as 14 points in the fourth and won comfortably in the end.
Lokomotiv travel to Poland for their next game to take on Slask Wroclaw, while Zadar will look to get on track at home against Dexia Mons-Hainaut.