Khimki Moscow Region got back to its winning ways by defeating a resilient Buducnost VOLI Podgorica side 85-69 on Wednesday night.
Khimki, which never trailed after the first quarter, improved to 2-6 on the season, while Buducnost dropped to 1-7 on the season. Alexey Shved starred with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Jordan Mickey had 17 points and 8 rebounds in victory. Earl Clark paced Buducnost with 19 points, but also committed 6 turnovers.
The teams started firing from the get-go. Egor Vialtsev and Shved combined to score 9 points early, but Nemanja Gordic, Suad Sehovic and Clark all hit a triple for Buducnost as the visitors went in front 15-17 after six minutes. However, the hosts did not allow a single basket the remainder of the quarter and led 18-17 after 10 minutes. Tony Crocker, Shved and Stefan Markovic each hit a triple, and a pair of close-range baskets from Mickey opened a 31-22 lead early in the second. Markovic hit another three and had a steal and a layup that put Khimki up 38-24. Sehovic hit from downtown for Buducnost, but a last-second triple from Shved made it 45-30 at halftime. Vialtsev's triple on the opening possession of the third made it an 18-point contest, but Gordic hit from downtown to cap a 0-7 run and cut into the deficit. The margin stayed in double figures and Dee Bost hit from long range before Shved extended the lead to 61-44. Buducnost kept fighting as Danilo Nikolic hit back-to-back triples that helped cut it to 65-54 at the end of the third quarter. Clarke and Clark fought their way to within 67-58, but Mickey answered with a basket-plus-foul. Markovic followed by banking in a tough runner and Shved knocked down his fourth triple to establish an insurmountable 78-60 lead with three minutes to go.
Mickey's defensive impact
Buducnost started the game by making 3 of 6 two-pointers, and 3 of 5 triples and held a 15-17 lead after six minutes. But that's when Jordan Mickey came into the game for Khimki. It did not take long for him to deliver a massive block and contest a couple of other shots. Khimki took control of both paints and Mickey played the remainder of the first half, 13 minutes and 49 seconds, during which Buducnost went just 2 of 9 for two-pointers and 2 of 9 for three-pointers.
Movers and shakers
With Tony Crocker and Charles Jenkins limited by injury, it was important for Khimki that someone else in the backcourt step up and it was Stefan Markovic. He scored 12 points in this game, after scoring a total of 14 points in his previous six appearances this season.
Khimki dished 21 assists and committed only 8 turnovers, which helped the hosts control the game. But the biggest difference was it 18 for 32 from two-point range (56.3%), while allowing Buducnost to score just 14 of 35 (40.0%).
Both teams are in action again on Friday. Buducnost welcomes CSKA Moscow to Podgorica and Khimki travels to Lithuania to face Zalgiris Kaunas.