Popovic, Rice star as Khimki dominates Olimpija
Khimki Moscow Region routed Union Olimpija Ljubljana 105-77 at home on Wednesday to remain alone in second place in Group D. Khimki improved to 5-2, while the losers dropped to 4-3 and third place.
Khimki used an amazing 22-4 run in the first quarter, with 15 points from Tyrese Rice and his 3-for-3 shooting from three-point range, to get a 29-10 margin and never looked back. Marko Popovic led the winners with 20 points and 7 assists, Rice finished with 18 points in 17 minutes, James Augustine contributed 16 points and 8 boards, Petteri Koponen added 16 points and 3 assists and Joffrey Lauvergne had 10 in victory. Klemen Prepelic tallied 24 points and 5 assist for Olimpija Ljubljana and Halil Kanacevic recorded a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Rice from downtown put Khimki in front before back-to-back three pointers by the visitors made it 7-6. Five points from Rice and 5 more from Petteri Koponen highlighted an 11-0 run that gave the hosts control. Rice scored back-to-back baskets from long distance and with an easy open court lay-up raised the margin to 17 by scoring his 15th point of the night. Joffrey Lauvergne made a huge dunk to complete a 22-4 run and make it 29-10. Koponen hit from downtown and raised again the difference to 34-12. Popovic from mid-range ended his team run with seconds left in the quarter, which finished 36-14. Blaz Mahovic and Kanacevic kept alive the visitors at 40-25, but the duo of Popovic and Augustine answered with a perfect pick-and-roll play, then Tyler Honeycutt hit a three to make it a 20-point game, 45-25. Sergey Monya finished a fast break to lead 63-39. Prepelic’s three-pointer and Mahkovic from the foul line fixed the score at 63-46 at halftime.
Kanacevic’s dunk tried to rally the visitors, but Rice finished in the open court to make it 67-50. Late in the quarter Popovic drained 8 consecutive points, sending the margin to 81-59, while Augustine fixed the score at 83-61 through three quarters. Alen Omic dunked early in the final quarter before Lauvergne used an assist delivered by Koponen to lead 96-65. Honeycutt pumped the advantage to 98-65 from the free throw line. In the final minutes, Olimpija cut a little bit the deficit.