VTB United League
Lokomotiv-Kuban Krasnodar defeated Khimki Moscow Region at home, 93-78 (22-24, 24-20, 29-19, 18-15).
Lokomotiv-Kuban: Mardy Collins (22 + 7 reb + 10 ast), Frank Elegar (18 + 6 reb), Ryan Broekhoff (17 + 8 reb)
Khimki: Alexey Shved (18 + 6 ast), James Anderson (16), Tyler Honeycutt (11), Stefan Markovic (11)
Playing in front of a sold-out Basket Hall (7,500 fans crammed into Krasnodar’s home arena to watch Sunday’s showdown), Lokomotiv-Kuban left no doubt down the stretch, soaring to a 15-point win over EuroLeague club Khimki.
Mardy Collins was masterful in the victory, scoring 22 points, dishing out 10 assists and pulling down seven rebounds. He keyed an electric Lokomotiv offense that finished the game with 21 assists and scored 93 points.
The turning point in the game came midway through the 4th quarter after Khimki forward James Anderson pulled the visitors within three on a layup.
Lokomotiv responded with a 12-0 run, holding Khimki scoreless for five and a half minutes. Australian swingman Ryan Broekhoff was instrumental in the game-ending surge, draining two 3-pointers, while Frank Elegar added the exclamation point with a dunk that put Lokomotiv on top by 13.
With the victory, Lokomotiv take over sole possession of 1st place at 11-1. Khimki drops into a tie for 5th place with Avtodor, 6-5.
Mardy Collins. The Loko captain was Sasa Obradovic’s most reliable option throughout the game. In one of the biggest games of the regular season, Collins recorded career highs in rebounds (7), assists (10) and efficiency rating (31) to go with 22 points.
7,500 – Lokomotiv-Kuban set a League attendance record for the 2017-18 season.
Lokomotiv-Kuban head coach Sasa Obradovic:
– I want to congratulate the fans, who came in such big numbers today. I’m confident they watched a worthy game. This is a great argument for growing the game. The marketing team does a wonderful job. We stuck to our rhythm on offense and defense. That’s the only way you can beat strong opponents. All of the players had a part in the win. On the other hand, this is only one win. In order to finish the regular season in 1st place, we need to continue playing basketball with the same type of enthusiasm.
Khimki head coach Georgios Bartzokas:
– Congratulations to Lokomotiv-Kuban on the win. They have an excellent team that does a wonderful job of executing the game plan. We recently played Crvena Zvezda and Olympiacos in the EuroLeague and spent a lot of energy on those games. It’s tough to play at this pace–three games in five days. Today, we lost our focus in the second half and Lokomotiv deserved to win. We knew our opponent grabs more than 20 offensive rebounds on average and prepared accordingly. But they scored 25 points on offensive rebounds, and that’s no excuse. It’s important for every player to give 100% on the court. That’s the only way to get a positive outcome. Loko showed us that today.
Lokomotiv-Kuban: January 28 away vs. Enisey
Khimki: January 29 home vs. Avtodor