Eurocup. BC Khimki — Panellinios — 101-9424 february 2009

BC Khimki Moscow region stayed in the race to reach the Eurocup Final Eight in Last 16 Group I by downing Panellinios 101-94 at home on Tuesday night. Khimki improved to 2-2 in Group I and faces a make-or-break home game against Maroussi Costa Coffee next Tuesday. Meanwhile, Panellinios went down to 0-4 and is all but mathematically out of the competition.

Timofey Mozgov paced the winners with 23 points. Kelly McCarty had 22 while Vitaliy Fridzon added 21 for Khimki. Anthony Grundy led Panellinios with 17 points. Ivan Radenovic added 15 while Brad Newley and Mustafa Shakur each had 14 for the guests. Panellinios tried to use quick transitions since the opening minutes, trying to get Radenovic and Jurica Golemac involved and getting a 19-23 edge late in the third quarter. A layup by Vladimir Petrovic gave Panellinios its last lead, 26-30. Mozgov was unstoppable in the paint and he got some help from Jorge Garbajosa and Fridzon to give Khimki a 52-48 halftime edge. McCarty nailed 2 triples in an 11-0 run that boosted the hosts' margin to 84-65 after three quarters. Stevan Nadjfeji and Shakur brought Khimki back to life in the fourth quarter to bring the guests within 91-86, but Fridzon and Milt Palacio stepped up in crunch time to seal the outcome.

Giorgos Kalaitzis got Panellinios going with a driving basket and Grundy buried a mid-range jumper but Fridzon and a corner triple by McCarty gave Khimki its first lead, 7-4. Golemac answered from downtown while Fridzon, Kalaitzis, Grundy and Ratko Varda also joined the three-point shootout for a 13-13 tie. Newley followed a driving basket with a backdoor layup for a 13-17 Panellinios edge. McCarty nailed another corner triple — exactly from the same spot — but a fast break dunk by Newley gave Panellinios some fresh air at 16-19. Garbajosa answered from downtown but back-to-back layups by Radenovic and Golemac kept the guests ahead, 19-23. Garbajosa and Teemu Rannikko restored a 24-23 Khimki edge after 10 minutes. Radenovic scored in penetration right at the start of the second quarter and soon added an open triple, as Khimki went scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Anton Ponkrashov tried to change things for the hosts while Mozgov added a layup-plus-foul for a 29-30 Khimki deficit. Wilkinson struck from downtown to make Panellinios call timeout at 32-30. Radenovic followed a power basket with free throws but a dunk by Mozgov and a three-point play by Ponkrashov gave Khimki a 37-34 lead. Garbajosa nailed his trademark triple bur Grundy singlehandedly kept the guests within 40-38. Mozgov followed free throws with consecutive dunks to keep Khimki ahead, 46-42. Fridzon sank foul shots that Newley improved with a step-back triple. Free throws by Victor Dubovitskiy and Varda, as well as a layup-plus-foul by Kalaitzis fixed the halftime score at 52-48.

Fridzon buried a three-pointer immediately after the break but a jump hook by Grundy kept Panellinios within 55-50. Panellinios kept following its game plan, with a quick transition offense trying to get Radenovic and Golemac involved. Mozgov stayed unstoppable, however, while Fridzon struck again from downtown for a 62-54 Khimki lead. Grundy made free throws while Newley added a driving layup to keep the guests within 62-58. Khimki needed a go-to guy and found one in McCarty, that struck twice from downtown in a 11-0 run that Mozgov capped with a free throw to break the game open, 77-60. Newley took over with a layup-plus-foul that Wilkinson erased with a corner triple. An unstoppable Mozgov made free throws while McCarty buried another one from downtown for a 84-65 Khimki margin after 30 minutes. Nadjfeji fired in a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter while Shakur gave Panellinios some hope at 84-70. McCarty stepped up with a layup-plus-foul, but Nadjfeji followed a three-point play with foul shots while a jumper by Shakur brought Panellinios within single digits, 87-78, after a 3-13 run. Mozgov scored in the paint but free throws by Djuro Ostojic kept the guests within 90-82 with over 4 minutes to go. A wild driving layup by Shakur got the guests event closer, 91-86. Fridzon got the crowd involved with a key triple while free throws by Palacio and McCarty sealed the outcome down the stretch.

Sergio Scariolo, BC Khimki head coach:
— It was an interesting game. We played well on offense, but not good on defense, especially in first half and at the end of the match. The third quarter was brilliant, and after it our players allowed themselves to be more relaxed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009