Coach Valery Sizov’s boys won two sweeping victories over the Kuban-Lokomotiv team from Krasnodar. Nonethess, the advantage is telling of how difficult it was to obtain this result.
Day one: 79-61 (23-8, 19-21, 20-15, 17-17)
Top scorers: Semerninov (13), Karaulov (12 + 12 rebounds), Kuznetsov (12 + 8 rebounds)
Day two: 77-58 (14-12, 20-12, 16-17, 27-17)
Top scorers: Kuznetsov (18 + 8 rebounds), Sukhinin (11), Gubanov (10)
It was at the very beginning of the first quarter that some very critical 3-pointers were scored by the home team, and coupled with the lackluster performance of the visiting team, garnered them a comfortable advantage. Nonetheless, this lead was not easy to come by, as the Kuban team were constantly at Khimki’s heels as they played some aggressive offensive rebounds, never giving the visiting team a chance.
During the second match, Lokomotiv bolstered their attack strategy, and they yellow-blues had to show some supremacy, especially concerning rebounds. But the 22-19 lead on the scoreboard and in offensive advantage brought desired results.
Discussing the changes to the team’s roster, and in particular Ivan Karavaev’s leaving Spartak SPb, Valery SIZOV had some things to say:
— He didn’t leave, he was loaned out. I hope Ivan is able to satisfy his ambitions playing in a team of the highest division in Russian basketball. I think Ivan was a bit underhanded with his team mates and coach. Knowing the main team’s directives to “let Karavaev play,” he had his game time guaranteed. With his incomprehensible desire to carry the defensive lead, and in the game, he “brought on” the difficult situation for his team in the tournament.
Author: Georgiy Tananykin