BC Khimki Moscow Region struck first in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague second Qualifying Round by thrashing BC Budivelnik 58-87 in Game 1 of their two-way series in Ukraine on Tuesday. Khimki has a 29-point lead the series and hosts Game 2 on Friday.
The series winner will advance to the definitive third Qualifying Round and will get closer to the Euroleague regular season while the loser will play the 2010-11 Eurocup. Keith Langford led the winners with 16 points. Kresimir Loncar and Thomas Kelati each added 11 while Zoran Planinic had 10 for Khimki. All 11 Khimki players scored at least 4 points in a very balanced offense. Dee Spencer led Budivelnik with 14 points. Khimki led 28-39 at halftime, boosted its margin to 43-63 after 30 minutes and then again to 53-80 late in the game, enough to get closer to return to Europe's signature club competition.
Budivelnik struggled to score early and Planinic followed a layup with free throws for a 2-7 Khimki lead. Dmytro Zabirchenko struck from downtown but Kelati took over with a driving basket and Ben Eze added an alleyoop layup for a 5-11 score. Andy Betts scored down low but Aleksey Savrasenko scored twice in the paint in a 0-8 run that gave Khimki its first double-digit lead, 7-18. Spencer sank a baseline jumper but Loncar beat the buzzer with a rainbow jumper that boosted the guests' margin to 10-21 after 10 minutes. Spencer nailed a jumper early in the second quarter that Loncar matched with a tip-in. Langford shined with a driving layup that Zabirchenko bettered with his second triple. Khimki kept finding good options in offense, as a driving layup by Vadim Panin and an easy basket by Fedor Dmitriev made it a 14-point game, 18-32. Denis Ivkolev sent the crowd to their feet with a four-point play and a turnaround jumper by Lamayn Wilson brought Budivelnik within single digits, 24-33. Panin hit free throws and Dmitriev nailed his trademark mid-range jumper to keep Khimki out of trouble, 25-37. A long jumper by Spencer and free throws by Kelati and Betts fixed the halftime score at 28-39.
Planinic scored in the low post immediately after the break and a corner three-pointer by Fridzon boosted the guests' lead to 28-44. Betts and Zach Morley tried to change things with back-to-back tips-in but Fridzon, Eze and a huge triple by Kelati made Budivelnik call timeout at 32-51. Morley got the crowd involved with a dunk and Billy Keys added a three-pointer but Planinic and Sergey Monya kept Khimki way ahead, 41-60. Spencer tried to change things for the hosts but Langford sank 3-of-4 free throws to give his team a 43-63 margin after three quarters. Dmitriev and Viacheslav Zaytsev struck from downtown early in the fourth quarter to seal the outcome, 45-68, with 8 minutes left. Both teams, however, kept battling hard for points differential. Zaytsev and Langford stayed on fire and even when Wilson took over with an alleyoop dunk, he didn't find much help around. Langford struck from downtown and by the time he added free throws, everything was said and done, 53-80, with 2 minutes left. Khimki almost put both feet in the next round, even when Budivelnik will try to bounce back in Game 2.