Khimki Moscow Region opened its Eurocup season in style with a 94-65 rout of visiting VEF Riga. VEF led early, but back-to-back-to-back threes by Joffrey Lauvergne, Marko Popovic and Petteri Koponen put Khimki ahead by 12 and Paul Davis added a few more buckets late in the second quarter to give Khimki a 47-28 halftime lead.
A 12-0 run to open the third quarter ended any doubts to the outcome. Khimki forced VEF into 23 turnovers and used team basketball – 29 assists compared to VEF’s 14 – to roll to victory. Tyrese Rice paved the way with 16 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, while Egor Vyaltsev scored 14, Koponen 12 and Popovic amassed 10 points and 8 assists and Tyler Honeycutt posted 7 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Gerald Robinson paced the VEF attack with 21 points and Janis Timma shot 5 of 7 from downtown for 17 points.
After a scoreless opening minute, Rice got things going for the hosts with a steal and layup, however a pair of Timma triples gave VEF the lead. The red-hot Rice soon nailed a three and finished a fastbreak to put Khimki up 9-8. Kevin Dillard struck twice from downtown to give VEF an 11-14 lead. The visitors held on, despite baskets by Sergey Monia and Paul Davis to tie the score, before a Stanislav Ilnitskiy three left Khimki ahead 21-18 through 10 minutes. The teams traded points early in the second quarter before Lauvergne, Popovic and Koponen sank back-to-back-to-back threes to put Khimki firmly in control at 34-22. Timma sought to spark VEF with 5 quick points, but Rice kept Khimki cruising. Davis scored twice inside and added a free throw as the hosts looked to end things early by taking a 47-28 lead into halftime.
Honeycutt converted a four-point play to trigger a 12-0 run at the start of the third quarter. Rice and Monia each added threes as the lead soared to 31. More than three minutes passed before Ronalds Zakis scored VEF’s first basket of the half. Robinson and Honeycutt swapped threes as the former continued to provide offense for VEF, but the visitors were unable to mount a serious charge. Ingus Jakovics free throws trimmed the deficit to 25, but an Ilnitskiy triple helped make it 71-41 by the end of the quarter. Timma and Robinson sank a few more shots in the fourth, but Khimki always had answers. Robinson managed to get VEF within 22 with two and a half minutes to go, but the game was long decided by that point.