Valencia Basket boosted its playoffs hopes by claiming a 68-77 victory at Khimki Moscow Region on Friday night.
Valencia used flowing offense to establish a double-digit lead in the first quarter and the advantage soon increased to 19-35, but Khimki fought back to make it 38-44 at the break. The visitors controlled the early stages of the second half and pulled away to a comfortable margin, 52-71 which survived a late Khimki rally. Derrick Williams led the way with several spectacular plays in his total of 18 points. Mike Tobey added 12 points and 9 rebounds, while Klemen Prepelic and Nikola Kalinic both scored 10. Jordan Mickey powered Khimki with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Sergey Karasev scored 16 and Errick McCollom added 10 in defeat. Valencia stays on the edge of the playoff zone at 16-14, while Khimki drops to 3-26.
Williams dunked after just 3 seconds and soon added a three-pointer as Valencia jumped out to a 3-7 lead. Williams stayed hot with a highlight reel slam before Louis Labeyrie netted from deep, but triples from Karasev and Anton Ponkrashov kept Khimki in contention. Sergey Monia pulled it back to 13-15 with another three-pointer, but Klemen Prepelic immediately responded likewise before Williams dunked again as Valencia’s offense kept rolling. Joan Sastre’s jumper and Jaime Pradilla’s three-pointer gave Valencia a 17-27 lead at the end of the first quarter. Three-point plays from Martin Hermannsson and Fernando San Emeterio extended the lead early in the second, as Khimki failed to score a field goal for three and a half minutes. Vyacheslav Zaytsev ended that barren run with a threeball and then added a two-pointer to reduce the deficit to single figures, 26-35. Prepelic from deep and Williams inside reignited Valencia, but Karasev scored 8 consecutive points – including 5 free throws – to make it 34-40. Mickey added a pair of close-range finishes, making the first half finish 38-44.
Mickey opened the second quarter scoring from mid-range, but Tobey and Williams netted inside to make Valencia more comfortable, 42-50, in a low-scoring passage of play. Evgeny Valiev and McCollom pulled it back to 47-51, but Labeyrie struck from long-range and Williams blasted another alley-oop to make it 49-58 with ten minutes remaining. Two close-range scores from Tobey gave Valencia a double-digit lead at the start of the fourth, and San Emeterio struck a triple for a 52-65 lead. Kalinic and Tobey scored under the basket to stretch the lead, 52-71. Mickey scored 6 points in an 8-0 run as Khimki responded, but a layup from Prepelic settled Valencia, 60-73 with 4 minutes left. Three-pointers from McCollom and Monia kept Khimki hoping, and Karasev scored inside to make it 68-73. But McCollom missed a mid-range shot and Kalinic made key free throws to seal the outcome inside the final minute.
Valencia survives late collapse
The game looked over when Valencia flew into a 52-71 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But Khimki roared back with a 16-2 run as Valencia scored only 2 points in nearly 6 minutes, before holding on thanks to late defensive resistance.
Visitors enjoy inside dominance
Valencia totally dominated inside during the opening stages, making its first 6 two-point attempts while holding Khimki to just 1-of-4 inside the arc. The home team improved somewhat thanks to the excellent Jordan Mickey, but Valencia still won the battle of the paint as Mike Tobey and Derrick Williams combined for 13 two-pointers, as many as Khimki’s entire team.
Injury worry for Van Rossom
The visiting team suffered a big injury setback when point guard Sam Van Rossom suffered a foot injury towards the end of the third quarter and was unable to return. Van Rossom is Valencia’s chief creator with an average of 3.6 assists per game but Martin Hermannsson stepped up on this occasion with 8 assists.
Valencia heads home for a key battle with FC Bayern Munich next Thursday, while Khimki hosts a Russian derby with Zenit St Petersburg on Friday.