Eurocup. BC Khimki — Maroussi — 94:69 3 march 2009

BC Khimki Moscow regions has made it to the Eurocup Final Eight! Khimki clinched a Final Eight berth in Last 16 Group I by simply overwhelming Maroussi Costa Coffee 94-69 at home on Tuesday. Khimki needed a 14-point win to make it to Turin and improved to 3-2 to stay second in Group I.

Kelly McCarty paced the winners with a Eurocup career-high 31 points on 9-for-10 two-pointers. Milt Palacio added 21 and 8 assists, Anton Ponkrashov had 14 points while Jorge Garbajosa pulled down 10 rebounds for Khimki. Billy Keys led Maroussi with 14 points. Loukas Mavrokefalidis and Giorgos Diamantopoulos each added 12 for the guests. Outstanding defense and an unstoppable Ponkrashov allowed Khimki to get a 23-10 lead after 10 minutes. An unstoppable McCarty took over with 16 points late in the second quarter to keep Khimki way ahead, 53-34, at halftime. McCarty stayed unstoppable after the break and got some help from Palacio to make the hosts keep a 72-54 margin after 30 minutes. A 12-0 run that Ponkrashov capped with a layup-plus-foul sealed the outcome, 84-56, as even when Maroussi kept fighting, Khimki had already sealed its ticket to Turin.

Palacio got Khimki going with a six-meter jumper while McCarty added a corner three-pointer for a 5-0 lead. Maroussi went scoreless for almost 2 minutes until Mavrokefalidis sank a jump hook. Vitaliy Fridzon answered from downtown while a wild alleyoop dunk by Timofey Mozgov boosted the hosts' lead to 10-2. Ponkrashov scored twice in the low post, as Maroussi could not find the way to the basket. Garbajosa nailed his trademark shot from downtown to make it a 15-point game, 17-2. Mavrokefalidis scored again while Keys buried a triple to get Maroussi within 19-7. The guests had improved their defense, playing more aggressive now. Ponkrashov followed foul shots with a driving layup but another three-pointer by Keys kept Maroussi within 23-10 after 10 minutes. Dimitris Mavroeidis sank free throws early in the second quarter but Teemu Rannikko answered from downtown and soon added free throws. Pat Calathes stepped up for Maroussi but Ratko Varda followed free throws with a fast break layup to restore a 15-point Khimki lead, 31-16. Palacio and a red hot Rannikko struck from downtown to break the game open, 37-18. Diamantopoulos tried to change things for the guests and Stevenson added a three-pointer to bring Maroussi within 39-24. McCarty joined the three-point shootout and even when Keys answered with an acrobatic layup, he scored again for a 44-26 Khimki margin. Andreas Glyniadakis scored around the basket while Diamantopoulos added free throws but McCarty stayed unstoppable with a running jumper and an incredible three-point play. Keys hit foul shots but McCarty — who else? — matched it with a six-meter jumper and added a buzzer-beating layup for a 53-34 Khimki margin at halftime.

McCarty scored again immediately after the game but Mavrokefalidis answered with a smooth move in the low post while Kostas Charalampidis added a triple for a 55-39 Maroussi deficit. McCarty, however, took part with an outstanding six-meter jumper — and the free throw that came with it. Maroussi entered the foul bonus and Garbajosa stepped up with free throws to make it a 21-point game, 60-39. Andreas Glyniadakis and McCarty traded baskets while Charalampidis buried another shot from downtown to keep Maroussi within 62-44. Palacio scored again that Mavrokefalidis matched with a wild driving layup. Palacio kept pacing Khimki with back-to-back jumpers but free throws by Glyniadakis and a fast break layup by Mavrokefalidis gave the guests some hope at 68-50. Fridzon shined with an off-balance jumper that Calathes matched with a driving basket. A fast break basket by Palacio and an incredible jumper by Diamantopoulos fixed the score at 72-54 after 30 minutes. The outcome was clear, but both teams fought for points differential now, as a 14-point win sent Khimki to the Final Eight and erased the guests' chances to make it to Turin. Diamantopoulos scored again but Palacio stayed on fire with a corner three-pointer. McCarty also struck from downtown for a 78-56 Khimki margin with 7 minutes to go. Maroussi needed a quick comeback but Ponkrashov joined the three-point shootout and added a layup-plus-foul to seal the outcome, 84-56. A 0-7 run that Stevenson capped with a triple brought Maroussi within 87-69 with under 3 minutes to go. Garbajosa, Fridzon and Palacio fueled a final 7-0 run that made Khimki reach the Eurocup Final Eight!

Sergio Scariolo, BC Khimki head coach:
— I congratulate my club on a big victory and reaching the Final Eight. It is a historical moment, my team deserved it. We bridged over the difficult situation in the Last 16 without two of our main players, Lampe and Delfino. Today all the guys did their job well. I am happy for my team.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009