Loko beats Reggio Emilia and equals its own record in Eurocup

In the first game of EuroCup semifinals, Lokomotiv Kuban defeated Reggio Emilia at home - 82:65.

Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar took another step towards a place in the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals with an 82-65 win over visiting Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia in Game 1 of their semifinals series on Tuesday. The victory kept Lokomotiv undefeated on the season and tied the competition record with 19 consecutive wins to open the season, which Lokomotiv also did in 2014-15. Behind a 16-2 second-quarter run, Lokomotiv grabbed a 43-28 halftime lead and the margin reached 18 points in the third quarter. Reggio Emilia, which played without EuroCup’s top scorer Amedeo Della Valle, kept a manageable deficit, but never was able to make a charge and turn things around. Brian Qvale was the top scorer for the winners with 16 points, Frank Elegar collected 11 points and 9 rebounds, Chris Babb also scored 11 and Mardy Collins tallied 10 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in victory. Chris Wright scored 14 points for the visitors, Jalen Reynolds collected 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks and Garrett Nevels finished with 10 points in the losing effort.

Manuchar Markoishvili opened the game with a three-pointer, but Elegar had back-to-back alley-oop dunks that got the hosts going. A runner from Dmitry Kulagin and a baseline basket kept the run going and Babb nailed his first triple to open a 19-9 lead. But Chris and Julian Wright combined to score 6 points at the end of the first to close the margin to 19-15 and the two Wrights kept it going early in the second quarter to tie the game at 21-21. However, the visitors never grabbed the lead. Antipov hit a three-pointer to start a 16-2 run, during which Collins hit a jumper, Elegar dunked and Babb beat the buzzer with a corner-triple that made it 43-28 at halftime.

Babb opened the second half with a three-pointer, but Reggio Emilia saw Julian Wright convert a three-point play and Nevels nailed a triple to help cut the deficit to 48-36. Kulagin and Qvale combined to extend the margin to 54-36, and after Chris Wright and Reynolds sparked a 0-6 run with plays on both ends of the floor, Antipov knocked down a three-pointer that kept the margin at 15 points. Nevels knocked down a three and James White made a pair of baskets that made it 63-51 after 30 minutes. If there was any doubt left, after the teams traded baskets early in the fourth, the hosts held Reggio Emilia without a single point for more than three minutes. Meanwhile, Qvale, Trevor Lacey and Elegar helped extend the margin to 73-55 with less than five minutes to go, and Lokomotiv cruised the rest of the way.

Sasa Obradovic, Head Coach of PBC Lokomotiv Kuban

— Like it was expected, there was a lot of nervousness on both sides. We found a way to win the game. This is not an easy opponent to play. A lot of tactical changes in defense. At some moments, we didn’t react perfect in the first half. I’m happy for this win. Still there is a long way to go. In their arena, it’s quite hard to play. They beat a lot of favourites – Bayern, UNICS, Zenit – there. We’ll go there with confidence after the win. We know what we are going to face there. Plus Della Valle will play in the second game, their best scorer. Today everybody gave a certain contribute. It was a team win.

Massimiliano Menetti, Head Coach of Reggio Emilia

— Congratulations to Kuban because they deserved to win. They played a strong and good game. For me they are the best team in Europe. And the 19:0 record is still running the EuroCup show. As for us, it’s clear that the last two minutes of the second quarter decided the game. Also there were many moments in the game that took away our confidence. On the other side, our spirit, our strength pushed us until the end. And we never gave up. We had an opportunity to come back, we won the third quarter. With some free throws less, maybe we could do a tie in the fourth. This shows that we don’t want to give up and we never give up because we don’t want to leave the competition. And we’ll do everything to come back here in Kuban that is a very nice city and nice arena. We enjoy, we like it and we want to come back.


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