The FIBA Europe Cup Men Final Four 2005 got off to a terrific start this afternoon in Ploesti, Romania as Russians Dynamo Moscow Region took on domestic rivals Lokomotiv Rostov in the first Semi-Final game.
Rostov came out looking for revenge after losing to Dynamo in Checkov in February for the Conference title, Dynamo had no reason to be complacent however, having recently lost at home to Lokomotiv in the Russian Superleague by over 20 points.
|Stevin Smith (Dynamo Moscow Region )|
Thanks to hot shooting from the beginning of the second period, Rostov began to pull away, punishing every mistake made by the Dynamo players with great defence and forcing Dynamo coach Alexander Vasin to take the first time-out of the game. It had the desired effect though and his players responded and gradually pulled back. Stevin Smith hit an enormous three-pointer to come within one point and suddenly Rostov looked shaky.
Morgunov picked up his third foul with 1:30 left and Sokolov put some fire back into the Lokomotiv game with a nice three point play which his 18-year old teammate Voronov followed with a great steal and drive to the hoop. Dynamo were again left chasing. Danny Lewis scored with 4 seconds left and the Dynamo attempt on the buzzer fell short. Half time score: 36-41.
|Lee Matthews (Lokomotiv Rostov)|
Lokomotiv pulled away, despite poor free-throw shooting and foul trouble: after 30 minutes the Rostov side had a 9 point lead, but also three players on four fouls; Kudelin, Sokolov and point guard Giedrus Gustas. The primary reason for their good run was Igor Kudelin – 16 points on 4/4 three-point shooting left the Dynamo defence helpless.
A huge 25 metre buzzer-beater from Aleksey Pegushin only narrowed a steady 12 point Rostov advantage to nine going into the final break.
Pegushin hit another early 3-pointer within the first minute and brought the Moscow Region club to within four points 52-56. Rostov began to look a little rattled, especially when Pegushin hit a third 3 one minute later and Kornegay hit 2/2 free-throws after Sokolov picked up his 5th foul.
The Rostov back-court duo of Kudelin and Danny Lewis showed their experience and kept the team cool. Nesterov helped by hitting an important 3-pointer with three minutes left to keep the Lokomotiv lead in double figures: 57-67. Smith kept pushing to the basket for Dynamo but Rostov still had all the answers and held on for the victory and a spot in tomorrow’s final.
Kudelin finished as top scorer for Rostov with 16 points, with Nesterov close behind with 15. Danny Lewis added 11 points and 7 rebounds.
Charles Kornegay topped for Dynamo with 16 points and 8 rebounds.